Polling, Campaigns, and Elections
The scientific name for polling is psephology, which literally translates to ‘voting by pebbles’. The first evidence of this comes to us from ancient Greece where pebbles were placed in candidate-specific bowls. The political electoral process has significantly transformed over the years. While individual votes are still cast in a similar fashion (albeit a box rather than bowl), the effective implementation of modern campaign organizing requires a massive influx of human power.
A recent article by Roddy Lindsay in Campaigns & Elections refers to the ‘Rise of Big Organizing’ and the logistical challenges in mounting and manning a state or nation-wide campaign. Lindsay makes particular reference to the widespread use of social media channels in transmitting political messaging, and to the authentic engagement that characterizes interpersonal contact. While social media platforms are now critical components of campaign communication, there is no substitute for the vocal, passionate, in-person advocate to move a campaign forward.
The Human Element
Experienced staffers with engaging interpersonal skills can elevate the political ground game from merely functional (or dysfunctional depending upon the degree of organization) to really inspiring. While unpaid volunteers are indispensable to a campaign, results tend to favor the use of paid, trained field interviewers, and call center operators. Experienced interviewers can help respondents stay focused on the survey at hand, providing clarification or encouragement as required. These individuals, often numbering in the hundreds, are the political army that goes door to door, that conducts exit polls and interviews, generating the critical data required for analysis by news agents and politicos all over the country. This kind of grassroots effort is particularly critical in battleground states, where both parties seek to identify the demographic most likely to support their candidate, ensuring individuals are registered to vote, and getting them to the polls in the fall.
As the next 90 days unroll, all eyes American and otherwise, will be riveted on the November 8th election showdown. The ground game and calling campaigns will kick into high gear to increase and ensure voter turnout. Utilizing a group of trained, high quality field and call center staff can make all the difference in reaching the campaign’s goals. And whether the ballot box fills up with voting tickets or the bowl with pebbles, it is democracy in action, and what could be more inspiring than that?
Article contributions by Jaynie Royal.