Saturday, June 24, 2006

Letter: Not a better mousetrap

Letter: Not a better mousetrap:
"In regard to your editorial (“Closed primary means low turnout,” The Daily Astorian, May 25) you correctly point out that there are a number of reasons for low voter participation in the primaries. Your solution is to allow the independent voters to participate in the partisan political process. Unfortunately, this defeats the purpose of primary elections.

They were originally set up to allow party members full participation in their party’s selection as opposed to the decisions of a few powerful men in a smoke-filled room. This has generally been successful. Yes, it does exclude the uncommitted independent, but then this was also true under the old system. Should Oregon institute open primaries, I will not vote in them, since they no longer serve the purpose for which they were intended."
C'mon.. most of the folks who are "independents" are not consumers or fans of the political industry. They don't vote because they don't care. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing can be legitimately argued, but a mediocre product, with a terrible customer experience, will not attract grow it's market. even with huge infusions of cash.

The Morning News :: Opinion Page

The Morning News :: Opinion Page:
"Election day will come, and it won't matter how many people rallied in the park.

Springdale saw 5,000 people in the park in April. Another large rally for immigrants' rights took place in May. Then a couple of months passed. Thursday, Republican party nominee for governor Asa Hutchinson came to Springdale to announce how he'd curb illegal immigration."

Tougher laws in Arkansas won't slow immigration to the United States but could divert it to other states. That's victory enough for many. My problem is this: There is no way to be tough on immigrants who arrived today and not be tough on immigrants who arrived years ago.

The people who arrived years ago broke our laws too. However, we showed little interest in enforcing our laws until this election year. Even the most ardent anti-immigration forces acknowledge that. It's a sore point with them.
As long as the election system is based on the niche market that votes, it doesn't supply a very sustainable incentive structure for finding the best solution for the most people.

And it's NOT the politicians fault. What would you do in the same position. If you don't get elected, it doesn't matter what you believe.

Friday, June 23, 2006

International IDEA | Electoral System Design

International IDEA | Electoral System Design:

"The choice of electoral system is one of the most important institutional decisions for any democracy. Electoral systems define and structure the rules of the political game; they help determine who is elected, how a campaign is fought, the role of political parties, and most importantly, who governs. "

It's the rules that create the strategies that win. Within our rules and history. MVC has been the best strategy to win.

International IDEA | Voter Turnout

International IDEA | Voter Turnout

And here's a place to find international stats, that are not about winning elections, but about using participation rates to say something about the political industry.

NOW with Bill Moyers. Politics & Economy. Election 2004 — America Votes | PBS

NOW with Bill Moyers. Politics & Economy. Election 2004 — America Votes | PBS

A great resource for why people do or don't vote. But still it concentrates only on the cost of voting. Not the benefit that is received.

According to NOW, America participation in elections has rarely reached 50% in the US.

SpringerLink - Article

SpringerLink - Article:

Like other administrative reforms designed to make voting easier, postal voting has the potential to increase turnout. However, the expanded pool of voters will be limited most likely to those already inclined to vote but find it inconvenient to go to the polling place. This conclusion is consistent with the growing body of research that suggests that relaxing administrative requirements is not likely to be the panacea for low turnout among the disenfranchised."

You can lower the cost of playing to almost zero, but if the product still stinks, nobody is going to play.

Pasadena Star-News - Draw California voters back to the polls

Pasadena Star-News - Draw California voters back to the polls:
"IN the recent election, voters were asked to cast ballots in a statewide primary election. Less than a third of registered voters cast ballots.

This was one of the lowest turnout gubernatorial primary elections in California's history.

Why were most voters no-shows?

It is hard to know what was driving such miserably low levels of voter participation. But a few hypotheses are floating around that merit research in coming months.

First, low voter participation in statewide primaries is not a new phenomenon. In fact, as I've written recently, since California's experiment with the 'blanket primary,' voter interest in statewide primaries has dropped considerably.

In 1998, when the state used the blanket primary in a gubernatorial primary, 42.5percent of registered voters participated. But in the 1994 and 2002 primaries, with more restrictive participation rules like those used in the recent primary, voter participation was 35 percent or less.

So one important explanation for low voter turnout in our recent primary is how participation is restricted for primary-election voters. If voters can't cast meaningful ballots, they don't turn out to vote.

Second, for many registered voters in the state, given the rules restricting which primary they could cast ballots in, there was little on the ballot to drive them to the polls. Republicans (making up around a third of registered voters statewide) had few choices to make on the ballot. So, after the final tallies are completed, we'll likely find that participation by registered Republicans was slight.

Third, registered Democrats (and the 'decline-to-state' votes who could cast ballots in the Democratic primary if they wanted) had important choices to make in a number of statewide races. But in general, unless they were political junkies, it was impossible for them to figure out which Democratic candidate might be best suited for a particular statewide seat, as there are few differences between most Democratic candidates in California.

Further, the campaigns that Democrats ran didn't help. Even though many millions were spent in the Democratic contests on candidate advertising, little of it was informative. Instead of informative campaign communications, the advertising blitz was mainly mudslinging. It's also worth noting that a lot of the campaign money was spent on uninformative mailers and those idiotic recorded telephone messages that turn voters off."
So how much does this sound like a "blame the customer" excuse of a failed marketing campaign?

It's hard to acquire customers, when your product is sub optimal and your process is broken. It's very hard to grow a market, when customer acquisition costs go through the roof to try to make up for a bad customer experience. News Articles: Readers Identify Issues, Preferences for Upcoming Elections News Articles: Readers Identify Issues, Preferences for Upcoming Elections

Here's the outlook for the folks who actually do the work of government. FedSmith is an information website for federal employees.

The Smoky Mountain News

The Smoky Mountain News

One of the best descriptions i've ever read of life on the ground for state legislators. It's no wonder it's so hard to get it right!

Lebanon Daily News - Update from the 48th District campaign trail

Lebanon Daily News - Update from the 48th District campaign trail:
"Out on the campaign trail, there has been a significant change to Folmer’s staff. Joe Sterns, a political consultant for West Lawn Graphics, has taken over as Folmer’s press secretary and spokesman, replacing Laurel Lynn Petolicchio of Mt. Gretna.

Petolicchio and husband Louis are close friends of Folmer and with him founded the Constitutional Organization of Lebanon political-action committee last year. Folmer said the couple played a key role in convincing him to run, and then in organizing his campaign.

It was a mutual decision for Laurel Lynn Petolicchio to step aside.

“They are dear friends of mine, and they have a life to get back to,” Folmer said.

Sterns began working for Folmer during the primary. Although just 31, he brings a wealth of political experience to the campaign.

He worked four years for the state House Republican Caucus as a speech writer and was campaign spokesman for Pat Toomey during his unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate against incumbent Arlen Specter in 2004. He is a director on the board of the Schuylkill County Young Republicans and a former chairman of the Pennsylvania Young Republicans. He also currently serves as the vice chairman of grass-roots coordination for Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania.

While Petolicchio was no political novice on the local level, Sterns said his experience in handling a major campaign should help Folmer, whose political experience is limited.

“It is important to have somebody with experience in dealing with the media these days,” he said. “You need a full-time professional to help a candidate manage his time.”"

So a relatively unknown mounts a grass roots campaign and scores a stunning upset..And then fires the manager who got him there and hires a "Professional".

When will people learn that professionals can do the wrong thing for years, and call it experience?

Professionals trained in 20th century forms, are usually exactly the wrong folks to lead a 21st century enterprise.

The Norman Transcript - Illegal aliens, family values featured on campaign trail

The Norman Transcript - Illegal aliens, family values featured on campaign trail:
"For Republicans, the goal is be as conservative as possible — think Ronald Reagan. “Republican themes will hit on immigration, tax cuts and Christian values,” said Don Hoover, a campaign consultant. “They will play as far to the right as possible.”

For Democrats, the goal is outreach and the middle ground — a replay of Bill Clinton. “Democrats want to talk about investing in the future and, to a lesser degree, bipartisanship,” he said.

The goal, Hoover said, is to get the undecided voter to pay attention. And those voters are only about half-listening. “Right now the undecided voter isn’t too focused on the campaign — yet. But, slowly, they are beginning to pay attention.”

To turn those heads, candidates will need money — lots and lots of money. “It takes resources to campaign,” he said. “Especially on a statewide level.”"

"Independent voters" are more accurately thought of as non consumers of the poltical product. Getting their "attention" is non trivail because the product is sub standard. It's a normal business problem in the GME.

Cantwell's lead over McGavick nearly gone

Cantwell's lead over McGavick nearly gone: "Dwindling voter support for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell's re-election bid has put her in a statistical toss-up with her Republican opponent, according to a new poll announced Wednesday.

Rasmussen Reports, an independent national polling firm, said a survey of 500 likely Washington voters June 13 showed the Democratic incumbent leading challenger Mike McGavick 44 percent to 40 percent. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points."

So if the general picture is correct that politics has about a 20% penetration of the market. Then 50% of 20% is 10%.. so Senator Cnatwell's future is in the hands of 10% of eligible voters.

Politics is a tough business.

Internet-Based Software Helps Political Candidates to Get Out the Vote and Cut Campaign Costs by 80 Percent

Internet-Based Software Helps Political Candidates to Get Out the Vote and Cut Campaign Costs by 80 Percent: "According to Voter Lists co-founder Donald Quaid, 'GOTVoters Online levels the political playing field. Even independent candidates on limited budgets can use it to get elected. Our advanced filtering of voter information enables political campaigns to target voters based on their specific concerns and interests. This is considerably more effective than targeting all voters on all issues. In a primary, a candidate can focus on just the 20% of voters who always turn out, saving money and more efficiently utilizing their time."

Go for the most valued customer. Based on this story the stable customer base for politics is about 20% of the potential market.

You would think that 80% of the population would qualify as underserved market that could possibly be a site for explosive growth.

Internet-Based Software Helps Political Candidates to Get Out the Vote and Cut Campaign Costs by 80 Percent

Internet-Based Software Helps Political Candidates to Get Out the Vote and Cut Campaign Costs by 80 Percent: "Voter Lists LLC announced a new Internet-based service today called GOTVoters Online(TM) that helps political candidates to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) on Election Day. GOTVoters Online(TM) cleverly combines state-supplied registered voter records with Internet-based software developed by Voter Lists LLC.

Brunswick, ME (PRWEB via PR Web Direct) June 22, 2006 -- Voter Lists LLC announced a new Internet-based service today called GOTVoters Online(TM) that helps political candidates to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) on Election Day. GOTVoters Online(TM) cleverly combines state-supplied registered voter records with Internet-based software developed by Voter Lists LLC.

Public voter data and our GOTV Internet software make it even more critical for voters to vote often. Political campaigns are evolving to target only those who vote regularly and to safely ignore those who do not vote. Only the interests of frequent voters, not those of the general population, will be represented by elected officials.
GOTVoters Online(TM) allows political campaigns to manage voter information online. Campaign managers can filter voters by gender, ethnicity, age, and other criteria and assign them to campaign volunteers, who gather voter opinions on key issues. Candidates then use the data to get only their supporters to the polls on Election Day.

Online at, the new service cuts political campaign costs by allowing political campaign workers to use their own computers, Internet connections, and phones. GOTVoters Online(TM) eliminates the need for large campaign offices with dozens of phones and computers. GOTVoters Online(TM) works with any computer through any Internet browser.

GOTVoters Online(TM) targets candidates with 5,000 to 200,000 voters. Those mid-sized political campaigns have never before had access to advanced Internet-based technology. Typical costs, which include both the Internet-based software and many states' voter lists, are about $1,600 for a small mayoral campaign with 5,000 voters or $5,500 for a large judicial campaign with 200,000 voters."

And the marketplace will supply the technology to get to most valuable customers, better, faster, cheaper.

RIC - News and Events

RIC - News and Events:

"Cranston Mayor Steven Laffey is in a virtual tie with U. S. Senator Lincoln Chafee for the party’s nomination for Senate in the September Republican primary, according to a new statewide survey of 256 likely Republican primary voters conducted by the Bureau of Government Research and Services at Rhode Island College. If the September primary for the U.S. Senate election were held today, 39 percent of voters would support Chafee while 38 percent would back Laffey, if half of those voting in the primary are Republicans and the other half unaffiliated voters. One in four likely primary voters say they are undecided.

Among men, Laffey leads Chafee by 44 to 34 percent, while Chafee’s lead among women is only 37 to 35 percent. Regionally, Chafee appears to be strongest in Providence (73 to 27 percent), western Rhode Island (43 to 21 percent), and in the East Bay (44 to 33 percent). Laffey is strongest in Blackstone Valley (50 to 40 percent), Newport County (46 to 23 percent), and in the Providence suburbs south of the city (39 to 31 percent). Among age groupings, Chafee is strongest with voters older than 64 (49 to 37 percent), while Laffey’s greatest strength comes from voters 39 or younger (55 to 33).

According to the survey, the key to the primary outcome will be the number of unaffiliated and Republican voters coming out on election day. "

In a protected low growth market, you have to focus on your most valued customer. Every smart business knows that.