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Monday, November 01, 2010

Griper Blade: Get Out The Vote

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This is my last long form post before election day and my last report on phonebanking for Wisconsin Democrats. Right now, I'm watching Rep. Chris Van Hollen, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, defend his prediction that dems will retain their majority in the House of Representatives on MSNBC. But Van Hollen is engaging in punditry -- there's little evidence to back up his claim, other than stronger than normal turnout among Democrats in early voting. But that higher early turnout is to be expected. News that the GOP-supporting business groups had planned a $75 million dark money push in the final days of the campaign caused Democrats to push early voting -- i.e., "vote now, before a wave of attack ads change your mind." Because of this last-minute push, Republicans didn't want people to vote early -- or, at least, not as badly as they might in another cycle. Still, it might make the difference in many races.

Gallup reports that "52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot -- depending on turnout assumptions." And everyone agrees that turnout is the key. The danger of lower turnout here is not only a Democratic concern; some Republicans may be so convinced of the inevitability of the "big Republican wave" that they think they needn't bother. Call it the "Tortoise and the Hare scenario." This also may make a difference.

Yesterday, I spent a couple hours on the phone at the teachers' union hall here in Madison. My contacts were mostly positive and the campaign is focusing on Get Out The Vote efforts. If turnout is the key, then turnout is the top job. Democrats seem to feel that a 4% increase in projected turnout in key districts will be enough to pull it out for both incumbent Senator Russ Feingold and gubernatorial hopeful Tom Barrett. My guess on which districts these are: Madison and Milwaukee. Wisconsin Democrats have a larger team of volunteers than in any other state, thanks in part to efforts by[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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