Saturday, January 30, 2016

Can Bernie Sanders Turn Out the Votes in Iowa?

Sabato's Crystal Ball said that Sanders' support is in Iowa's more urban areas, so he's probably gonna have a shortfall of turnout in the more rural areas (which sounds funny, since it's Iowa for crying out loud).

See the Los Angeles Times, "Bernie Sanders tries to be the next Barack Obama in Iowa, not the next Howard Dean":
Bernie Sanders delighted in telling a crowd of a couple of thousand people here this week about his journey from “fringe candidate” to serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, rattling off poll results reflecting his momentum and boasting that “the energy, the enthusiasm is with our campaign.”

But shortly before Sanders took stage, an organizer for his presidential campaign asked members of the crowd to raise their hands if they had signed up to volunteer. Only a few did.

“Oh, no. Not a lot of people here, I don’t think,” he said. “We need each and every one of you to rise to the occasion.”

It was a glimpse of Sanders’ toughest challenge as his sweeping call for a political revolution faces its first concrete test Monday in the Iowa caucuses. Their outcome will reveal whether the Sanders campaign operation, which has defied expectations with the enthusiasm it has drawn from disaffected liberals and college students, can harness that energy into votes the way Barack Obama did in 2008 when he beat the same establishment favorite Sanders now faces, Hillary Clinton.

Obama bested Clinton by motivating huge numbers of voters who normally wouldn’t participate in the caucus process to show up. Sanders himself is doubtful his campaign can reproduce the turnout Obama achieved, saying this week that the 2008 election “is really going to stay in the history books. It was an unbelievable campaign. In places they ran out of ballots, as I understand it.”

But he will be using a lot of the same organizational tools Obama did in claiming victory over a front-runner who seemed to have all the advantages in getting out the vote.

Targeting technologies pioneered by Obama’s campaign have made it possible for outsider candidates like Sanders to turn out Iowans who a decade ago might have showed up at a rally and then faded away before the caucuses. Now, computers can quickly link them up with a caucus coach who can walk them through the bewildering voting process and even make sure they have a ride on election night.

But ultimately, much of the work of sealing a commitment from voters happens through human contact. And to avoid the disappointment fellow Vermonter Howard Dean endured in the 2004 caucuses, when he failed to leverage similar insurgent momentum, the Sanders campaign has been rushing to build the infrastructure to capture enthusiasm and turn it into votes...
Keep reading (via Memeorandum).

It's all about the college students for Sanders. Seriously. If young people are away at college, the campaign has to get them back to Iowa. And the winner is the one who wins the most precincts around the state, not the most individual votes, so a concentration of votes around the college towns hurt Sanders.

But we'll see. We'll see.

I really don't want to see Sanders' version of the Dean Scream on caucus night.