AND ONE STRATEGIST KNOWS EXACTLY HOW THEY WILL IMPLEMENT IT …
Writing for his new Market Research Foundation organization, veteran electoral strategist Bill Wilson penned a column last week warning against “Republican” overconfidence heading into the 2014 midterm elections.
Wilson’s piece – “Don’t Believe The Spin: 2014 Elections Are Far From Settled” – drew extensively from his entity’s research in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race, which should have been a “Republican” romp. Why wasn’t it? According to Wilson’s analysis, Democrats turned out their core voters (especially blacks) using an aggressive, well-funded ground game – while simultaneously suppressing GOP turnout via a nasty air war.
Meanwhile the GOP made numerous mistakes – including failing to seize upon local issues that offered its candidates opportunities to pick up ideological allies among independent voters. GOP strategists also fell for planted stories about depressed black turnout – which rendered their polling inaccurate and led to the misappropriation of scarce campaign resources.
The result? A 56,000-vote loss for their candidate, Ken Cuccinelli.
A few days after Wilson’s piece made the rounds Sasha Issenberg – author of critically acclaimed election science book The Victory Lab – published an article in New Republic entitled “How The Democrats Can Avoid Going Down This November.” Her piece – which explores “the new science of Democratic survival” – affirms everything Wilson wrote.
Specifically, Issenberg reveals the Democratic strategy to court “Unreliables” – i.e. voters who cast ballots in presidential elections but take a pass on the midterms.
“The strategists engineering the party’s campaigns now have at their disposal databases containing the names of every Unreliable voter in the country, as well as guidance on where, how, and when they can be reached,” she writes. “Democratic analysts have developed predictive models to anticipate which voters are most likely to actually open and read their mail.”
Sheesh … that sounds almost NSA-ish.
In Virginia, Market Research Foundation reports reveal the extent to which Democrats were able to turn out votes in black strongholds – ultimately boosting 2013 African-American participation to 2012 levels (an astounding accomplishment).
“These same tactics – mass African-American mobilization combined with suppression of the GOP vote via negative attacks – will be employed in 2014 on a much broader scale,” Wilson notes in a follow-up post. “And possibly with similar perception-defying results.”
In other words not only does the GOP have to deal with ongoing defections in its own ranks, it must also gird itself for a credible Democratic challenge in 2014.
Wilson is right. “Don’t believe the spin.”