How to Handicap a Campaign’s Ground Game in 2014

Stuart Rothenberg April 17, 2014 · 9:40 AM EDT

This cycle, Democrats are counting heavily on registering new voters and turning out registered voters who otherwise don’t bother to vote during midterm elections. Republicans are also putting more emphasis on voter contact programs.

In an era of micro-targeting and sophisticated get-out-the-vote operations, how can a handicapper know exactly how an election outcome will be affected by a strong ground game?

For me, the answer has always been pretty obvious: I can’t.

It’s not that I dismiss or undervalue the importance of a campaign’s “field operation” or denigrate the impact of registration efforts or voter turnout strategies by one or both parties. It’s that I have never found a way to measure the impact of “ground game” operations during an election.

Earlier this year, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee disclosed that through its Bannock Street project, it would spend $60 million to put 4,000 paid staffers on the ground in its attempt to retain control of the Senate.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not been as explicit about its plans for the cycle. But committee operatives say the DCCC will “triple the size” of its 2010 field program and point out that as of the beginning of April, organizers were in place in 33 congressional…

Democratic Senate Prospects and the New Black Voter

Nathan L. Gonzales April 14, 2014 · 12:54 PM EDT

Democrats plan to turn out thousands of African-American voters this fall, in an effort to hold the Senate majority. The challenge is that some of them aren’t yet registered to vote.

Which begs the question, after opportunities to elect and re-elect the first black president, why would an…

Republicans to Maintain, and Potentially Grow, House Majority

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Stuart Rothenberg April 11, 2014 · 4:00 PM EDT

So far, there is precious little evidence that Democrats have changed the trajectory of the 2014 midterm elections, reinforcing our earlier assessment that Democrats have little or no chance of taking back the House in November.

President Barack Obama’s weak job approval numbers, questions…

2014 House Overview (April 11, 2014) Alabama - Indiana

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April 11, 2014 · 3:59 PM EDT

Alabama (6 Republicans, 1 Democrat). June 3 primary, July 15 runoff.
AL 6 (Open; Bachus, R). Among those running are state Sen. Scott Beason, state Rep. Paul DeMarco, businessman Will Brooke and former Alabama Policy Institute president Gary Palmer. From Beason’s website: “As Establishment…

2014 House Overview (April 11, 2014) Iowa - Oklahoma

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April 11, 2014 · 3:58 PM EDT

Iowa (2R, 2D). June 3 primary. If no candidate receives 35 percent in the primary, party conventions pick the nominees.
IA 1 (Open; Braley, D). The Democratic field includes former state House Speaker Pat Murphy, Cedar Rapids City Councilor Monica Vernon, former state Sen. Swati Dandekar and…