Five Key Takeaways about Campaign Contact from the Pre-election NBC/WSJ Poll

2014 will be the most expensive and competitive midterm election in our country’s history. Yet, national polling predicts historically low voter turnout. But, the latest data from NBC/WSJ suggests that will not be due to a lack of effort by either party or their candidates.

The poll, conducted October 30 through November 1, asked 1,200 registered voters the following questions:

“Have you received any mail, e-mail, telephone calls, contact on social media like Facebook or Twitter or any other personal contact encouraging you to vote for a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress?”

“Have you received any mail, e-mail, telephone calls, contact on social media like Facebook or Twitter or any other personal contact encouraging you to vote for a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress?”

  1. Campaign contact is up compared to 2006 and, of course, recall is higher among likely voters.
    • As the chart below shows, 65{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of national likely voters nationally report having been contacted by either Republican or Democratic parties.
    • Among the broader sample of registered voters, the 57{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} who report having been contacted represents a 20{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} increase compared to 2006, when 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} reported campaign contact.

chart 1

  1. A closer look at the top sub-groups reporting contact from each party suggests efforts have been mostly engaged in base turnout.
    • Among strong Republicans, 58{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} report being contacted by the GOP while 57{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of strong Democrats report Democratic contact.
    • Equal shares of Independent voters report Democratic and Republican contact at 43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} apiece.
  1. Republicans have a better margin among the voters contacted by their campaigns.
    • When we count in the overlap, 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of registered voters report contact by Republicans. Among these voters 54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say they are voting for the Republican and 42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say they are voting from the Democrat.
    • Among the 48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} contacted by Democrats, 45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} are voting for the Republican candidate and 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} for the Democrat.
    • Among those reporting contact by both parties, Republicans have an edge, 51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP candidate – 45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Dem candidate.
    • Democrats hold the advantage among those registered voters who reported not being contacted by either party, 44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP candidate – 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Dem candidate.
  1. The campaigns were in overdrive in the 10 states with tossup Senate races.
    • Almost three out of four (74{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) voters across the 10 tossup senate states (including AK, AR, CO, GA, IA, KS, KY, NC, and NH) say they received some form of contact.
    • A majority (51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of registered voters in these 10 states say they have been personally contacted by both parties.

Chart 2

  1. No group received more personal contact than white women in the 10 tossup senate states.
    • Providing a strong hint of where both parties felt the election would be decided across the 10 tossup senate states, a stunning 81{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of white women in the tossup senate state report being contacted by one or the other campaign with 12{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} saying they were only contacted by Republicans and 8{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} saying they were only contacted by Democrats.
    • Nationally 62{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of white women were personally contacted by one or the other party with an equal percentage (11{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) reporting contact by only one or the other side.
    • Self-reported high election interest ({09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}9-10 on a 10 point scale) among white women in the toss-up Senate states is 68{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, higher than the overall 66{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} reported by all registered voters in those 10 states and much higher than the national figure of 55{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}.
    • Among likely voters in the tossup states, white women break for the GOP candidate over the Democrat candidate by 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} to 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}.

Bottom Line
In the country’s most expensive midterm to date, these data suggests relative parity in terms of personal contact by each party.

Public Opinion Strategies