Friday, October 20, 2006

Getting Out the Vote

Generally, I take Election Day off to do Get Out the Vote (GOTV) stuff. In the past, I've done door to door canvassing and always wondered if it was worthwhile, compared with other methods, such as phone banks.

According to Get out the Vote!, a study of GOTV efforts between 1998 and 2002, door-to-door yields 1 additional vote for every 14 people contacted, while phone banks average 1 additional vote for every 35 people contacted.

In 2004 I and a friend did targeted door-to-door in a semi-rural area of New Hampshire. This meant visiting a pre-determined list of identified voters, not simply going up and down a street knocking on every door. I estimate we actually talked to 8 people per hour, or four per hour per canvasser.

Four contacts per hour -- that's a pretty low contact rate, especially compared with phone. The phone canvass looks like it might be more efficient, even though the vote-per-contact yield is over twice as low.

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