It is difficult for me to convey the importance of the next four days to you folks, especially as its halloween tonight and Americans love celebrating this day and therefore I’m slightly drunk. Anyway. It’s 4 days until the election. For the Obama campaign its the culmination of 20 months of work and the next four days are perhaps the most important for an entire generation of American history. I maybe exaggerating, but there is still a lot riding on this.
Let me try and put this in perspective without giving too much away of what I’ve been told. I’m in California right now, and this deeply Democratic state is responsible for over 50% of the entire volunteer effort for the Obama campaign. Californians have fanned out from the state to other states and knocked on doors for the campaign in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri and even as far as North Carolina (as far as London to Prague). Californians have made over 50% of phone calls to other states encouraging people to vote or support Obama.
For the Democrats, this is the biggest GOTV (get out the vote) operation ever. I’m not kidding about this either – I’ve been on conference calls galore and this people are almost preparing for war. It’s impressive and I’m glad to just be here, witnessing it all.
The Big Day itself will be interesting too. Every two hours or so, the polling stations publish a list of people who have just voted over the last couple of hours. Obama supporters will be there copying names from that list and letting the central office know who have voted, so that supporters can be marked off the list and identified Obama supporters who haven’t yet voted are called to encourage them to vote. Hell, they even organise transport for those people. It is a sophisticated operation.
The Republicans are of course better at this, especially in the phone calling business. A contact in the business told me that Republicans mobilising effort is much more efficient: “Each Republican phone station in for instance, OHIO in their GOTV campaign, is uploading data from each call to a central server which then spits back a follow-up profile sheet on each person called.” Unfortunately, Democrats aren’t as quick on the info about potential voters as this…. but as I said earlier – thanks to Obama this is the biggest and the widest grassroots mobilisation effort the Democrats have ever attempted. They have plenty to learn from this, and during this campaign they have been trying new technologies to see how they can get to voters better. The good thing is – the number of Obama supporting volunteers far, far outnumber McCain supporting volunteers. How that impacts the election will be known in 4 days time. Until then there is an enormous amount of work to be done on the ground. The final sprint is always the hardest and it has just begun.
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Filed in: Election News,United States