There have been multiple articles like this one, suggesting that he who gets out the voters wins the polls. Optimistic takes on GOP-GOTV can be found here and here. Here's my own anecdotal experience from Las Vegas this evening:
I answer: "Hello."
A woman says: "I'm calling on behalf of President Bush" (at this point she starts to giggle and silence reigns; it sounds like someone is talking in the background).
A man comes on: "We're calling on behalf of President Bush. That's really all we have to say and we hope you get out to the polls."
I thank him for the call and hang up. (Note: above dialogue paraphrased from memory.)
Now, judging from what the two conservative bloggers I linked above have written, it's possible that this lady had only just been trained in the last couple of days. Also, I don't think it's likely that small slip-ups by campaign workers/volunteers when they make telephone calls will have a statistically significant effect on how or whether people vote. Of course, if they start writing down the wrong addresses for people they need to drive to the polls...
On Friday night in Las Vegas, I watched local newscasts for 95 minutes. I watched the 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. newscasts on KVVU, Las Vegas Fox affiliate, and the 11 p.m. newscast on KTNV, the ABC affiliate. Of the 50 ads broadcast, 32 were political.
This includes advertisements for and against ballot questions (the equivalent of propositions in California; 6 ads), candidates running to become County Commisioners in Clark County (10 ads), Congressional candidates (6 ads), and, of course, the Presidential candidates (10 ads). Again, this is anecdotal evidence. However, 16 out of 50 ads relating to candidates for Federal offices is something you won't see in California.
What surprised me most was that I had seen or heard of almost all the advertisements that were aired regarding the Presidential race. In retrospect, I should have expected that the campaigns, the parties, and the major independent groups would be the only organizations running ads during newscasts since they seem to be such highly coveted venues for political advertising.
Though I have seen some ads sponsored by independent groups I hadn't heard of before, those ads were aired on the cable news channels on Saturday afternoon. As to the local newscasts, there were three Bush-Cheney ads (one on each newscast), three Democratic National Committee ads (one on each newscast), and one ad each for Kerry-Edwards, Move On (pro-Kerry), and the Progress for America Voter fund ad (pro-Bush). The only Presidential campaign ad that was entirely new to me is an anti-Bush ad from the League of Conservation Voters focusing on an issue unique to Nevada, namely, the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.
For the politically inclined out in predictably Democratic California, it's easy to be jealous of the battleground dwellers. They get to watch all the ads, be in on the whisper campaigns, and — mirabile dictu — the candidates come to ask them for their votes, not just the maximum allowable contribution. Able to countenance the situation no longer, I ventured to Nevada in search of a world where mailboxes are full of campaign literature, phonebanks flourish, and political advertising rules the airwaves.
To start, a brief rundown of the campaign in Nevada. John Kerry was in Las Vegas on Tuesday and Bill Clinton put in an appearance in Las Vegas on Friday, as Democrats try to wrest Nevada from the Bush column. Though the latest Zogby numbers show the President opening up a comfortable lead, Dick Cheney is holding two Monday campaign events in Nevada just to be safe.
Nevada is one of the states that has early voting, so Cheney's visit will have no effect on the 266,387 voters (out of 1,071,101 registered) who took advantage of early voting before it ended Friday. (Early voting does not include absentee ballots; early voting numbers Friday have not yet been released for Douglas and Lyon counties). In the 2000 presidential election, 206,330 of the state's 876,888 registered voters voted early.
As for the television advertising, the candidates, the political parties, and 527s have spent 18 million dollars in Nevada. I watched local newscasts Friday night on a couple different networks and was bombarded with a staggering amount of political advertising. I'll offer a full report on that and the political mailings I've been able to look at in a later post.