Counting Labour’s comeback


This week’s New Statesman cover story looks at the Labour party’s increasing chances of a “surprise election victory”. Data seen exclusively by Left Foot Forward shows that using old and new methods, the party has spoken to over 650,000 voters since the start of the year. Academic studies show that this kind of contact is the best way to ensure that a political party gets its vote out.

In the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan and James Macintyre outline that:

Labour, according to Alexander, has made 400,000 voter contacts in marginal seats across the UK since the start of 2010. That figure is double the number of such contacts in the run-up to the 2005 election, and involves the use of software that allows local activists to set up phone banks in their homes.

One cannot overestimate the importance of such efforts - research for the Electoral Commission shows that “being contacted personally by a political party during the campaign increases the probability that an individual will vote”. So it is perhaps not surprising, as the senior strategist confirms, that “morale is significantly higher among our marginal MPs than it was even a month ago”.

But new figures seen exclusively by Left Foot Forward show that, in total, Labour activists have already spoken to 655,000 voters in 2010. 450,000 have been face-to-face with a further 205,000 by phone - much through the new online phone bank and grassroots-led campaigns like #MobMonday.

The academic evidence could not be clearer. The Yale University Get Out the Vote studies, led by Professors Alan Gerber and Don Green, have in various studies shown that face-to-face contact has a greater impact on turnout than either phone calls or mail. They find:

leaflets increase turnout by 1.2 per cent;

volunteer phone calls increase turnout by 3.8 per cent; and

door-to-door canvassing increases turnout by 7 to 11 per cent.

On this basis, the Labour party may have secured up to an extra 57,000 votes where it matters already this year. With Labour defending 20 seats with majorities under 1,000, this could make all the difference.

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  • http://twitter.com/houseoftwitslab/status/10017053010 HouseOfTwitsLab

    RT @leftfootfwd EXCLUSIVE: Counting Labour's comeback. The party & its activists have spoken to 650,000 voters in 2010 http://cli.gs/H4dbH

  • http://twitter.com/houseoftwits/status/10017053604 House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd EXCLUSIVE: Counting Labour's comeback. The party & its activists have spoken to 650,000 voters in 2010 http://cli.gs/H4dbH

  • http://www.theorator2009.blogspot.com The Orator

    And do you have figures for the Conservatives so we can draw a meaningful comparison?

  • Liz McShane

    And Carol Vorderman on last night’s QT will only have encouraged lots more Labour activists to do even more campaigning!

  • http://twitter.com/mattysimmsy/status/10023747607 Matthew Simms

    I must have spoken to a good few thousand voters this year http://bit.ly/bwjq2l

  • Mr. Sensible

    “And Carol Vorderman on last night’s QT will only have encouraged lots more Labour activists to do even more campaigning!”

    Liz, can you post a link?

  • Liz McShane

    Mrr sensible- you can see how awful and regressive she was on bbc iplayer via question time’s own website. Also check out james macinytre’s piece on new statesman’s website and comments. Enjoy!

  • http://twitter.com/jamescrabtree/status/10066435897 jamescrabtree

    Labour claims it knocked on >400,000 doors since Xmas — 650,000 voter contacts, 2/3s face-to-face. Impressive, if true http://bit.ly/bwjq2l

  • http://twitter.com/richardangell/status/10067532655 Richard Angell

    RT @jamescrabtree: Labour claims it knocked on >400,000 doors since Xmas — 650,000 voter contacts, 2/3s face-to-face. Impressive, if true http://bit.ly/bwjq2l

  • Mr. Sensible

    Cheers Liz; I’ll have a look.

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