Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Data Tells Us GOTV is All Important

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC/My Space poll sought the opinions of 614 newly minted voters, most of whom were young adults. The poll sought to determine their presidential preferences and assess the likelihood they will get to the polls on election day.

It has segregated new voters from more established voters, and the poll contains good news and bad news. The good news is that this nationwide poll tells us:
Americans who are eligible to vote for the first time, or who skipped the previous election but are registered now, found that they back Sen. Obama over Sen. John McCain by a margin of 61% to 30%.
Unfortunately, these data do not mean that these voters are in the bag for Barack Obama. Oh, yeah. If they get to the polls, they will vote for him, but getting them to the polls is the trick. While 70 percent of all voters are "very interested" in the election, only 49 percent of the new voters expressed this kind of interest. Only "54% of the new voters said they would definitely vote Nov. 4."

We have a hurdle here. There is a rich pocket of potential votes that belong to people who are hard to get to the polls, and we cannot delude ourselves by our poll numbers that it's not going to take some effort to make Barack Obama president. A vote is in the bank only when it's in the ballot box. We need to get those voters to the polls by historical percentages.


democratunc said...

I have to respond to this because you are not reading the poll correctly and just basing you post on what the WSJ article says.

Lets explore the question of only 54% of new voters are likely to vote.

One must read the whole poll question to accurately answer the question of how like these new voters are to vote.

Here is the full poll question: "Using a ten-point scale, please tell me how likely you are to vote in the November fourth elections for president and Congress. If you are certain that you will vote, pick a number closer to "eight," "nine," or "ten." If it is less likely that you will vote, use a number closer to "one," "two," or "three." You may choose any number from one to ten."

And the response:
10, definitely vote 54
9 17
8 13
7 4
6 2
5 4
4 -
3 1
2 2
1, definitely NOT vote 3
Not sure -

So according to the question, if you are CERTAIN to vote, then you should pick a number between 8-10. 84 percent of respondents chose 8, 9, or 10. Only 6 percent chose the answer that they were less likely to vote (i.e. choosing 1, 2, or 3). Also important to note that they didn't ask the likely voters this question and in my mind they should have, even for comparison's sake.

Now to the second point, the issue of interest.

The pollsters also gave a 10 point scale of interest. 78 percent of new voters chose the answer of 8, 9, or 10. In terms of all voters 87 percent of all voter chose 8, 9, or 10 (Which included the new voters as well as frequent voters).

Here is the full poll question...

Please indicate how interested you are in November's elections, using a scale from one to ten, on which a "ten" means that you are very interested in November's elections and a "one" means that you are not at all interested. You may choose any number from one to ten.

Finally, only 55% of the poll respondents were 18-30. That is a majority for sure but not "most."

Now I'm not saying we don't have our work cut out for us. The republicans are going to throw everything including the Kitchen sink at us. But let agree that we have to work with every age group, not just youth.

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