Emily’s List Unprecedented GOTV Effort for Clinton in Iowa

I received the press release below from Emily’s List a while ago. Reading through it, I was very impressed with the rather unprecedented effort they put into their GOTV effort for Hillary Clinton in Iowa particularly with women who had no history of caucus participation. This is a very important voting block that is so often overlooked and under cultivated. Good for Emily’s List for putting some serious, and I do mean serious effort into targeting these voters.

Tonight marks the culmination of an intensive six week effort to mobilize Democratic women to participate in the Iowa caucuses on behalf of Senator Hillary Clinton. EMILY’s List targeted 60,000 registered Democratic women with no history of caucus participation – using a comprehensive outreach program of online advertising, a targeted web site, direct mail, and phones.

The Research

EMILY’s List began its efforts on behalf of Senator Clinton with a survey of likely women primary voters in three states that will hold their elections on February 5th (Georgia, New Jersey, and Arizona).[1] Clinton held a dramatic lead garnering 54 percent support compared with 18 percent for Senator Obama and 12 percent for Senator Edwards. We concluded that our support would be more valuable in Iowa than in states where her support was so secure.

Our second survey was an online poll conducted among Democratic women in Iowa.[2] This survey revealed that women who were likely caucus attendees narrowly divided their support among Senators Clinton (30 percent), Edwards (25 percent), and Obama (21 percent). However, women who were less likely to caucus supported Senator Clinton by a two to one margin (51 percent for Clinton, 22 percent for Obama, and 15 percent for Edwards). Our task seemed clear: we needed to mobilize her existing support rather than persuade new voters.

The survey suggested that the main reason women did not participate in the caucuses was their lack of familiarity with the process. They wanted step-by-step instructions on what to do and expect when they walked through the door.

Innovative Online Outreach

We developed the website www.YouGoGirl.com to educate Iowa women about the caucuses. The website featured real Iowa women – some caucus experts and some who had never been before – talking about what to expect and why they were going. The site included step-by-step instructions on how to caucus, information on Senator Clinton, and an opportunity to sign up for their caucus locations. To drive women to the site, we developed banner ads that ran on popular websites for women and used Google and Yahoo technology to find women online. Utilizing Google search term technology, we directed ads towards online users looking for information on “Iowa Caucuses” and “Senator Clinton.” We also targeted women who were conducting their regular business online, with ads for women looking for “weather” or “after Thanksgiving sales”.

As of January 2nd 2008, we’ve had 26,393 visits to the website!

Emily’s list also utilized “more traditional forms of communication, including direct mail and telephones.”

We began with a universe of 124,000 registered Democratic women who voted in the 2006 general election, but did NOT participate in the 2004 presidential caucus. We called through that list and removed all women who said they definitely would never caucus, and women who were supporting a candidate other than Senator Clinton. That left us with a universe of 60,000.

We relied on five “sandwiches” of communication – using automated calls to alert voters that important information was coming, sending the mail, and following up with automated calls to remind them to review the mail they’d received. The mail featured the Iowa women who were on our web site, and those same women recorded the automated calls. All of the mail educated women on the caucus process, including a special eight page booklet that provided the step-by step instructions these new caucus attendees needed. Additionally, the information was provided in the compelling voices of Iowa women whose concerns and hopes mirrored theirs. When Senator Clinton received the Des Moines Register endorsement, we added an extra piece of mail to share the exciting news!

We paid special attention to the universe of 16,000 women who ID’ed as Clinton supporters or who signed up on YouGoGirl.com. In addition to the pre-planned phone calls and mail, they received two extra pieces of mail with their names and caucus locations lasered on the piece. They also received one final live phone call delivering their caucus location information and urging them to caucus. The attached chart shows the timing of the eight mail pieces and phone calls.

All told, EMILY’s List invested $500,000 in a targeted program with one clear objective: persuading Democratic women who had never before caucused to stand with Hillary on January 3. No matter the outcome, we believe our efforts will persuade thousands of women to become more involved in this critical process.

Of course, we’re not done yet! Stay tuned for details about WOMEN VOTE! efforts currently underway in New Hampshire to mobilize Democratic women for the January 8th primary.

Time will tell how Emily’s List effort pays of for Hillary Clinton in Iowa. Emily’s List endorsed Clinton soon after she announced her intentions to run for president. Stay tuned…

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About Pamela Leavey

Pamela Leavey is the Editor in Chief, Owner/Publisher of The Democratic Daily as well as a freelance writer and photographer. Pamela holds a certificate in Contemporary Communications from UMass Lowell, a Journalism Certificate from UMass Amherst and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Digital Age Communications from UMass Amherst UWW.
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One Response to Emily’s List Unprecedented GOTV Effort for Clinton in Iowa

  1. Shaun Dakin says:

    Time has told us how this worked and the answer is: Voters don’t like to be “bought” and don’t like to receive a barrage of robo calls.

    Citizens for Civil Discourse, a non-partisan and non-profit org in DC, has launched the National Political Do Not Contact Registry to combat robo calls.

    Learn more http://StopPoliticalCalls.org


    Shaun Dakin
    CEO and Founder