There's a long way to go before SB5 is repealed. What may currently feel like a wind to your back can suddenly reveal itself to be a maelstrom instead. With today's polling news that Ohioans overwhelmingly favor repealing SB5, we thought it would be a good idea to cover some election basics.
Right now we are collecting signatures to place the repeal of SB5 on the November 2011 ballot. We need 231,000 verified signatures, which means we need a lot more than that in reality, conservatively, 50% more. But. Each person who signs a SB5 repeal petition is almost as good as a vote, so the more signatures collected the better our chances in November.
November 2011 would be a very low turnout election year under most circumstances, with no major offices on the ballot to attract people to the polls. A similar past year, 2007 saw only 31.34% of registered voters cast a ballot, compared to 53.25% in 2006 and 69.97% in 2008.
Given this, the first thing to bare in mind is that there is a great difference between a voter and a registered voter. A lot of registered voters do not actually vote! In off-cycle election years like 2011 it could be about 2/3 of registered voters who stay home on election day. There are a few lessons to be learned from this simple and obvious fact.
- When reading polls be careful to consider if they are of registered voters (RV), or have been screened for likely voters(LV).
Today's Quinnipiac poll is of registered voters, as will most polls be until after Labor Day when it becomes easier to gauge a persons likelihood to vote
- Getting your supporters to actually go vote (GOTV) is crucial to success.
We need to turn as many registered voters into actual voters on election day in November. The best way to do that right now is to collect signatures. Lots and lots of them.
Back to polling. We all know about sampling errors and margin of error, but you should also be aware that it is very hard to accurately poll issue campaigns, and even harder to do so in low turnout elections. Two recent examples from Ohio demonstrate this quite well.
In 2005 a group of people attempted to reform Ohio's election and redistricting laws. Right before the election the Bliss Institute polled the issues and found
State Issue Three (Campaign Contributions)
State Issue Four (Nonpartisan Redistricting)
State Issue Five (Role of Secretary of State)
The Dispatch found similar results. All 4 issues lost just a few days later by massive 2:1 margins. The polling was way off.
In 2006 a coalition similar to the SB5 coalition put a minimum wage initiative on the ballot. It won 57%-43%, but in a NYT/CBS poll just 2 weeks earlier it enjoyed over 77% support.
The bottom line -
- We have to work hard now, to collect as many signatures as possible
- We have to work hard through the summer and fall to talk to voters and convince them that repealing SB5 is the right thing to do
- In the closing month of the election get as many people to vote early as possible
- On election day, get as many supporters of repeal to the polls as possible
That's a lot of work. Ready for it?