Monday, March 11, 2013

Only 1/3 of Liberal "Supporters" Registered to Vote

... which is to say, we're at least going to *maybe* beat what the Alberta Liberals managed in 2011.

Back then, only 8,760 out of 27,567 "supporters" ended up voting in the Alberta Liberal contest that elected Raj Sherman as leader, or 31.3%.

As of today's Winnipeg Free Press article, only 89,000 of 294,000 federal Liberal "Supporters" have registered, or 30.7%. Those are just people registered to vote, not who will actually end up voting.

For further context, 59,000 of I believe around 130,000 NDP members voted in their leadership race, or about 45%.

Oh, dear. We're getting our asses kicked by the NDP, in a way. Nevermind the Conservatives, who had over 97,000 people vote in their 2004 leadership election.

I supported the Supporters category back in January 2012, one of the 3,000 or so delegates that were excited about this prospect. What's happened, however, is that the "Supporters" category has become a half-assed mess. People are signed up, sure, but we're not really pulling them in. Beyond a leadership race, which is a one-off event that most people are writing off as one person's to lose, what is in it for a Supporter? We didn't allow them to vote in riding nominations, or some stupid reason. We've failed to articulate what the benefits of it are - because there are no benefits, outside of the leadership vote. Even that benefit got messed up, with the short time span for signing up and the dithering posture taken by much of the establishment.

As I said, part of it is the fault of the narrative around this leadership election. I suspect a lot aren't bothering to register because what is the point? They don't see a competition. The media has absolutely killed it for us. Without extra benefits to being a Supporter, there's no reason for them to engage.

In short, we fucked it up. And while 89,000 people is impressive as a voting base, its nothing compared to almost 300,000 that actually decided to take a slight interest in the contest and the party. But, we never took hold of that initial investment and drew them in. Its been a failure, and the only way to change it around is hope the next leader moves forward with changes to the category. But, I'm not holding my breath.

13 comments:

  1. I wonder if the 300,000 includes people who were automatically converted to supporters when their 2012 memberships expired without renewal in December?

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    1. Oh God, I didn't think about that... that's a scary thought. Why would we do that in the first place? Nonsense.

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  2. There will be a lot of people registering yet. And you may be right, a lot of people will not register as they are say Garneau, or Murray supporters who only figure their time would be wasted. But it isn't like Liberalist is going to develop a leak, and all those contacts disappear. The Party will have many opportunities to engage, and re-engage those supporters again. My biggest fear is that the reaction will be such that the supporter category is discarded. That would be a huge mistake, lmho. Open nominations would be a good idea, but like a leadership race, nominations only come in alternate blue moons. What is needed is a continuous process of recruiting, and ENGAGING supporters through whatever means may be found. Policy input, nominations, knitting circles if that works, lol. I would kill to have the kind of data collected over this race at my disposal., time to start making good use of it. But you should be forewarned, the turnouts will probably be lower than you are expecting. The last Green Party leadership race had one member one vote, online. the actual turnout was embarrasingly low. Think less than half that NDP number you quoted. That didn't stop the GPC from raising a million bucks a year from one eighth the numbers of contacts. And that is the truth, those supporters may not vote, but they will still stump up dough, and volunteer, etc. Sooner or later that is.

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    1. Oops... to clarify, the NDP number I was comparing the GPC to was the percentage turnout, NOT the actual membership number, lol. At the membership cutoff date for the last GPC leadership, the total membership was under 9,000. turnout was less than half the NDP 45%. Th eentire GPC database,including some veeery old data had less than 20,000 valid email addresses. From that database came a million bucks per year.

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    2. Actually, I'm quite sure turnout will be low. The Alberta Liberal and NDP leadership races were pretty good examples of why I think it will be!

      But, you are right. We have a lot of contacts now. That will be great for future campaigns. But, as I've said, we could have done a lot more with these Supporters. We've failed to truly engage them so far, as is evident by the poor registration. I'll be very surprised if we make it over 100,000 in a couple of days. There's no way we'll make it to 50% - 147,000 - by that time, and if we can't get 50% turnout, we've failed to engage these people in any meaningful way.

      Will we do more in the future? I hope so. Will they fork over money and time? Maybe. But why, *why* would they do that in the future when they could have done that now, especially given that their only chance at doing something with their status is right now, and they've not done anything!

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    3. Kyle, `They`are a galaxy of individuals. They each have unique motivations. I have managed sizeable databases like this for business, and politcial purposes. You can go back to the well again and again, tweaking your message and call to action. Each person will react differently to each attempt to engage. One day, they will receive a message that they are receptive to and all of a sudden, a `dead` contact comes to life and jumps aboard. I tell you one thing that upsets me though. I volunteered for a couple of days at the Trudeau phone bank, and I was VERY meticulous in recording supporters email addresses. I had my doubts about soem of those kids pounding the phones, and NOT verifying email addresses letter by letter. It now appears that 100,000 Trudeau supporters did not have email addresses recorded so meticulously. What a collosal waste of time!!! If the means to communicate, and the means of registration did not exist, then they were NOT supporters, they were just names on a list somewhere. So there were not 300,000 supporters, there were 200,000 plus a lot of people who like Trudeau, and said so on the phone.

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    4. That's... not good, if what you say about Trudeau's campaign is true. Not good at all. This is what I mean, as well.

      Yes, you're right, we need to find out what will get these people interested and eventually we will, but right now, we're not even getting all the right contact points. This needs to change.

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    5. I think that my ire might have been mis-placed. From what current media reports are saying, the Party had already determined a process for registering supporters without email addresses. No question that more training of the volunteers would have resulted in more email addresses, but if the campaign was operating under the assumption that the party was going to register people by snail mail, then it is hard to blame them for counting on that registration process happening in time. Also, I signed up about 4 supporters per hour of phoning. A surprising number of them claimed they did not have email addresses, or use a computer. My time was split between calling rural Nova Scotia, and Ontario. A fair example of the rural nova scotian calls was one very sweet but quite elederly lady who wanted to support Trudeau, but had never used a computer in her life...... sigh

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  3. I don't see how people who are supporters being lazy PoSes is our fault.

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    1. Because, the job of a political party is to get and keep these people engaged, and if they haven't, something's gone wrong on our part, not theirs. Its our burden.

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    2. It's not a question of 'fault'. The corollory to the ease of clicking a button and signing up as a supporter is that it is a relatively casual association. It is a first step. In sales, it is called a sales funnel.( I do not like sales analogies in politics, but it is the easiest wy to describe the process) A supporter is analogous to a 'sales lead'. You engage a 'lead' and find out what makes them tick. Wherupon they become a qualified prospect. As a prospect, you engage them further, and they start to pay off for you as donors, volunteers, etc. It's called a funnel because you start with large numbers and winnow them down to relatively small numbers. The better job you do at each step, the higher proportion of leads graduate to prospect, prospects to members, etc. As for calling them lazy, you might as well say that it isn't the Liberals fault if voters are too friggin lazy to go to the polls without a reminder, so if you lose because there was no GOTV it is the voters fault. No GOTV=crappy turnout. No supporter engagement=low returns.

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  4. I've been thinking about this and I think it's a good thing. It means 2/3rds of our supporters have signed up because they support the party - as opposed to supporting just one candidate.

    The other option is that they are too dumb to see all the e-mails, messages, tags, information notices, and media notifications that they have to register. In that case I ask the following: do you really want dumb people casting the majority of ballots for leader?

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    1. That's kind of missing the point. A lot of these people were probably asked to sign up by leadership candidates - and let's point out that the only way for them to actually make a difference with their Supporters status, is to vote in the leadership race.

      So either these people don't understand what a Supporter is, or they did and the follow-through hasn't bothered to come. It isn't the issue of them being "dumb," either - as BlueGreenBlogger made note of, Trudeau's camp has failed to get some of these people's e-mails. And for those that they did get contact points for, its possible the constant bombardment has put them off. Lord knows I was pissed off with the multitude of calls and e-mails I've gotten, and I'm a paying member!

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