Democrats Fail to Reach Their Low-Information Voters

One thing political junkies tend to forget is that people have a lot to worry about, and many people view politics and policy discussion as equivalent to root canal. This can lead to some problems (boldface mine):

Countless pixels have been expended on the Democrats’ “midterm drop-off problem,” in which core Democratic groups such as young voters, minorities and single women are expected to go to the polls in lower percentages than GOP groups, putting Dem control of the Senate in peril.

What if a key part of the problem is that many of these voters simply don’t know that Democratic control of the Senate is at stake in this fall’s elections?

That’s one of the conclusions veteran Dem pollster Celinda Lake reached after conducting new focus groups and polling for the liberal group MoveOn. Lake conducted two focus groups of people from Detroit and its suburbs. One was made up of single white women under 55 and married white women under 35 (millenials). The second was all African American women. These are the same voters who are expected to drop off in many red state Senate contests, too.

“We were exploring what would motivate them to turn out to vote,” Lake tells me. “One of the things that came up is that these drop-off voters had no idea that control of the Senate was even up for grabs and were even very confused about who controlled it. These voters are very representative of drop-off voters in a lot of states.”

Lake says the focus groups — and follow-up polling Lake conducted — determined that one message that motivates these voters is that the outcome of the Senate election in their state could decide Senate control. However, that alone isn’t enough to motivate these voters. They also need to be told why it should matter to them which party controls the Senate, Lake adds.

Guess what? It turns out people have to like this crap (boldface mine):

…drop-off voters are most concerned that “Republicans will take away a woman’s right to choose and restrict access to birth control” (58 percent rank this very concerning), “Republicans will cut access to health care for 8 million people and let insurance companies refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions” (58 percent) and “Republicans will cut back workplace protections for women, denying equal pay for equal work” (57 percent)….

The top testing message overall emphasizes education, specifically Republicans’ efforts to cut programs for students while giving tax cuts to the wealthy (54 percent very convincing). This message is the strongest argument for coming out to vote in all of the states except Colorado…the message focusing on Republicans’ war on women is the second strongest in all states besides Colorado.

Oddly enough, when Democrats sound like Democrats, the rank-and-file want to vote for them.

Go figure.

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