According to the following excerpt, how do the parties attempt to mobilize voters? Have these efforts been successful or unsuccessful and why?
Length: 75 – 500 words (enough to succinctly answer the question)
Party Efforts to Mobilize Voters
Party organizations must take all these forces into account when they try to get out the vote on Election Day. They know that the most effective means of mobilization is person-to-person contact. Personal canvassing is especially useful in mobilizing first-time voters; most new voters say that they came to the polls because “my family or friends encouraged me to vote.”
Face-to-face voter mobilization had become less common in the 1900s. But during the past decade, the parties and several other groups have developed programs to increase turnout among their supporters. Civil rights groups have worked closely with the Democratic Party to bring more blacks to the polls. Organized labor mounts major GOTV drives built on union members’ contacts with their friends and neighbors. Beginning in 2012, both party organizations have worked hard to inform voters about new state voter ID laws and limits on early voting. These mobilization drives seem to have helped increase turnout.
Conventional wisdom says that because nonvoters tend to come from groups usually inclined to vote Democratic, such as lower-income and less-educated people, voter mobilization drives should help Democratic candidates. That is why proposals to make registering and voting easier are often assumed to benefit Democrats. It explains why organized labor spends so much money and effort on registration and GOTV campaigns.
Conventional wisdom is not always correct, however. As we have seen, close contests, dramatic conflicts, and exciting candidates can bring more people to the polls, and these conditions are not always generated by Democratic candidates. In fact, Republican presidential candidates have won most of the large-turnout elections in the past five decades.
Do Party Efforts Diversify the Electorate?
Have these party mobilization drives helped to create an American electorate that more closely reflects the diversity of the American people? Or have they simply increased the representation of those already likely to vote?
Researchers find that parties and party activists tend to contact higher-income and older people more than they contact less wealthy and younger people, a tendency that has increased in recent elections. College students change their addresses often, which makes it harder for party activists to find them. And both parties know that it is easier to activate those already predisposed to vote than it is to entice previous nonvoters to the polls.
As a result, most voter mobilization drives do relatively little to increase the turnout of groups that have had low voting rates over time. The most recent exception was the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012. Its organizers set out to increase voter turnout because many of Obama’s most likely supporters were a part of groups with traditionally low turnout. In addition to minority racial and ethnic groups, the campaign especially targeted young people who had recently become eligible to vote. Their work paid off. One pollster estimated that Obama won the vote of people under age 30 by a margin of about 8.3 million votes in 2008; Obama’s overall margin in the popular vote was about 8 million.