$31,193,853. That’s How Much It Will Cost Democrats to Win #GASen

April 29, 2014 13:43 pm

by Jon Richards · 7 comments

That’s what National Journal says, anyway. The magazine uses an unorthodox method of determining how difficult it will be for Democrats to pick up a Republican seat, and of the 12 states they look at, Georgia is the most difficult.

In a nutshell, they look at the number of registered voters, and multiply it by a factor to get the expected turnout in the general election. They then determine how many votes will be needed to win, and the number of ‘reliable’ Democratic voters that will vote pretty much no matter what. The difference is the number of additional voters that will be needed to cast Democratic votes in order to guarantee a win. In the case of Georgia, that number is 663,699 additional votes.

How do they get there? One method, according to the story, would be to use direct mail to motivate the potential voters. At a cost of $47 per vote, that’s where they come up with the $31 million plus number. Another option would be to get volunteers to go door to door, canvassing for votes. But not every door knock gets you someone to talk to, and not everyone you talk to is going to vote. The story estimates it would take 1,548,631 hours of volunteer time to guarantee the number of votes needed to put Michelle Nunn in the Georgia Senate seat.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Gray April 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Something is off.

Four years ago, Deal beat Barnes by 250,000 votes. That was a statewide election between two well-funded candidates. I imagine the US Senate race in Georgia will be equally well-funded, perhaps more so.

Anything that predicts a voter shortfall for Democrats much over (or below) 250,000 isn’t realistic.

Jon Richards April 29, 2014 at 7:03 pm

It looked to me like the ‘missing’ 400K votes would either be swing voters who sometimes vote Democrat, or voters that don’t regularly make it to the polls to vote. Obviously some will be easier to convince to vote than others.

Chris Huttman April 29, 2014 at 10:15 pm

It looks to me that this is a piss poor analysis that substituted primary voters for party registration, which we don’t have. So yes, in 2012, the Democratic primary turnout total was about 34% of the total primary total – but then Obama ended up getting almost 46%. Go figure.

In reality, the Barnes race is instructive as Gray says – about 250k votes short. When you look at the voter registration totals by race and how they have changed since 2010, probably closer to 200k now (if you ran the exact same election as 2010 – this one will be different).

Now I will say one thing – if we come up with 600k votes in excess of last time, I will also guarantee a win. But I would also guarantee it with 300k.

xdog April 29, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I thought parties had moved beyond direct mail and door-to-door canvassing as tactics to sway voters. What year is this?

Harry April 30, 2014 at 12:52 am

Bring dat bling!

Jon Lester April 30, 2014 at 10:29 am

All that money, and the presumptive nominee hasn’t even bothered to engage the voters beyond a few token measures.

Doctor Strangelove April 30, 2014 at 11:49 am

By “token measures,” do you mean three different positive ads running pre-primary? And daily visits to organizations, businesses, and groups throughout the state? And campaign events up the yin yang? Because, in that case, yes, lots of token measures.

I mean this with all due respect, but have you ever actually worked a campaign? Because someone who will easily win a primary should do exactly what she is doing as the other side battles it out through July’s Runoff. Anyone who is a campaign professional knows that.