Selective GOTV Tactics

When you use phones during a campaign GOTV effort you may engage in three types of phone calls.

Push-polls are polls which use leading questions to intentionally get people to answer a certain way. These are used for the same reason as another technique, called advo GOTV or advocacy. The intent in both of these situations is to improve name ID and favorability for a candidate. They are like a sales call in the sense that a call maker is trying to convince the listener that the candidate is valuable.

The third type of call you might engage in is called vetting-question GOTV. This type of GOTV does not involve the use of persuasion or talking points, but there is a simple question asked up front to vet the voter and determine whether the voter intends to vote for the call maker-supported candidate. If the voter intends to vote for the preferred candidate then a simple message asking them to vote is given. If the voter intends to vote for someone else then they are thanked for their time and not reminded to go vote. The purpose is to selectively drive turnout.

Examples push-poll thumbnail:

  • Election day is X.
  • You should vote for our candidate.
  • Will you vote for our candidate?

Example vetting-question thumbnail:

  • Will you vote for our candidate?
  • If yes, election day is X.

Related to making GOTV calls, it is important to realize that unknowns are different from undecideds. An interesting question related to the difference between unknowns and undecideds when conducting GOTV is whether or not a voice mail drops should be conducted, either by a drop when pickup fails, or by a voice mail drop robo call.

The rest of this article is from the text of a real email involved in a real campaign. Names are changed to protect identity. I wrote the email, and I was part of the campaign for the candidate referred to below as Andrew.

My concern is that we will mobilize CARSON supporters with a GOTV voice mail.

From the survey:
Q3:        Would you vote for ANDREW or CARSON?
ANDREW:        44    (37%)
CARSON:        40    (34%)
Undecided:    35    (29%)

Q6:        Despite being undecided, are you leaning toward ANDREW or CARSON?
ANDREW:        1    (2%)
CARSON:        5    (15%)
Not Sure:    29    (83%)

Now, assume that leans go their way. The vote goes from 44/40 in favor of ANDREW to 45/45.

For this reason I think we should only GOTV known ANDREW supporters. Encouraging undecided looks like it will only hurt us. Every time we leave a voice mail to GOTV an unknown we are driving the overall results to 45/45, or 50%/50%.


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