In a mail-piece sent out to party loyalists last week, The DNC announced its "National Plan" to target and motivate the surge of first-time voters in '08 who made the difference in the outcome of that election. They accounted for 15 to 20 million of the total votes cast for, then candidate, now President Obama.
This key group will be particularly challenging in a mid-term election where the novelty of voting for our first African-American president does not oil the engine of voter turnout. How daunting is it? Well consider these statistics supplied by the Democratic National Committee:
This group is comprised of voters who registered after '06 and first voted in '08. Over 50% of them are young African American or Latino, the rest are New Dems and Dem voting independents, and all felt a "special connection" to the President. However, these are voting cohorts who historically present a very low turnout in mid-term elections. In short, there's a lot of gristle to be gnawed on and swallowed if we are to expect to see these voters turning out for 2010.
Another key group is made up of "Sporadic Voters" who are people who have voted in Presidential years or registered before '06. Unlike the previous group (First Time Voters) these voters are more evenly spread between the parties, have low turnout in mid-term elections and are made up of a relatively high ratio of African-American and Latino voters. Roughly 36-million fall into this category.
And, if I'm not dropping in a gratuitous metaphor, the joker in the pack are those who traditionally do turnout for mid-term elections. They are more likely to be part of the GOP base, with 80% being white, older voters. This group is about 72 million voters, more than the previous groups combined.
Clearly, the challenge--and, I'm thinking challenge is not the word, more like the damned near insurmountable task--is to generate a turnout that will swing close elections by a few points. To accomplish this expect to see Obama's grassroots group, Organizing for America, using phone banks, and door-to-door campaigns to reach out and touch 20088's First Time voters and other highly prioritized groups in order to generate early vote programs, such as "Vote-by-Mail and absentee voting. The DNC will fund robocalls targeting the same potential voters.
The Democrats cite how the numbers can be made to work through such tactics by providing Ohio as an example where there were 763-thousand First Time Voters (681K Youth, 545K African-American, & 100K Latino). In this example, the campaign would generate 88-thousand votes, an increase of 8% for First Time Voters, and 2% of the '06 turnout and sufficient to "swing" a close election.
Well maybe, but I'm thinking someone needs to be sending for money, guns and lawyers!