Could a superior ground game help tip November's elections toward Democrats? Once again, Democrats are
investing more heavily
in voter registration and turnout efforts, while Republicans spend a much greater share of their money on television advertising and direct mail. The Upshot has gone through Federal Election Commission filings to add up both parties' expenditures on things like field staff, mileage, and voter contact materials, and the upshot is:
One caveat is that this doesn't include the expenditures of groups like the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity—they don't have to report field expenses. (Dark money indeed.) But within what FEC filings show, the story told by the graph plays out like this:
[The Democratic] edge extends to Alaska, where the Democratic incumbent Mark Begich faces Dan Sullivan. Combined, Democratic independent groups, party committees and Mr. Begich’s campaign have already spent nearly 10 times more than Republicans on wages and expenses for local staffers; get-out-the-vote efforts; and other field operations.
The state Democratic Party alone has spent at least $763,687 on voter turnout and staffing this year, which amounts to $1.45 for every citizen over 18 in the state.
Per-voter expenditures are obviously lower in states where there are roads everywhere and you don't need to fly to get to smaller towns.
The 2014 map and traditional lower turnout among Democratic voters in midterm elections are aligned against Democrats this November, but ground organizing is the way to fight low turnout—and build toward 2016. It's good to see that kind of investment.
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