Thursday, January 7, 2010
By Ryann T, Follow me on Google+
The City of Santa Barbara holds city elections in November of odd years. This year, there were 3 council seats, a mayor's seat, and an important measure all up on the ballot. Measure B was the hot topic of this year's election, which would limit building hight limit in downtown Santa Barbara to a maximum of 40 feet. The Democratic party as well as environmentalists were opposed to this measure that limits building height because typically, taller buildings in cities actually lead to a greater level of sustainability as well as affordable workforce housing. A Texas Republican decided to spearhead a large $700,000 "Yes on B" campaign. In addition to the threat of this campaign, it was also the first year that Santa Barbara's election was all mail-in. For these two reasons, the Democratic Party knew that they would have to exercise strategic Get Out the Vote (GOTV) tactics. The GOTV campaigns would be targeted towards Democratic households, who were the majority in Santa Barbara. The campaign consisted of a few printed mailings, and door to door phases. Realizing they would need to contact more people than door to door allowed, the Democratic Party decided to augment this door to door effort with aggressive phonebanking with the "stellar and affordable Callfire autodialer system" (calitics.com article) The Phonebanking component of this campaign began at the end of August and was used three days a week by approximately twelve volunteers. On the final weekend, the volunteers were able to reach approximately 3,000 self-identified Measure B opponents through a disposition question in an earlier CallFire call. The Volunteers wanted to make sure Voters remembered to turn in their ballots at the drop off station rather than the the usual polling booth. It's a good thing they did too, because many people still had no idea that there was anything different or new about this election. By the middle of the day before the elections, voter turnout was 37%, and with the help of the GOTV efforts, including the final round of Cloud Call Center campaigns, total turnout rose to 49.5%. In particular, the result of the Measure B changed dramatically. The day before the end of the election, it was at 49% yes, 51% no. By the end of the election, Measure B was defeated by a whopping 62%. Not only were the Democratic Party's efforts effective, but they managed to do it with less than $30,000. CallFire's Cloud Call Center was a significant component of this effective campaign, and the victory was even sweeter when spending 1/23 of the opposition.
Reference : Ancona, Dan, 18 November 2009, "A Tale of One City: How Democrats with Good Data Beat the Odds"