Republicans are using computers to call voters in several districts. The calls purport to be from Democrats. If you hang up, they call, and call, and call, even into the night and early morning hours. If you DO listen, you hear a smear message about the Democrat. This is widespread and massive, and there is simply no time to respond. So it might work.
You and I are informed voters. The fact that you are reading this shows that you seek out information. So you are likely to see through – or find out about – this tactic. But consider the situation with most people. They work hard (not that you don’t) and don’t have a lot of free time. Maybe they have kids they have to get to school or soccer games (or the mall.) For one reason or another they are NOT as well-informed as we are, so they are susceptible to schemes like this one, which is obviously designed to get them angry at the Democratic candidate, possibly enough to keep them from voting at all.
I’ve been writing about the Republican calling operation here and here. Taylor Marsh is also looking at it. Talking Points Memo is also on this.
There are articles on the robocall operation here, here, here, here, here, here.
At Patriot Project we have also been looking at the earlier push-polling operation.
Update – According to the Republican Party website,
72-HOUR PROGRAM IS WORKING.
The GOP’s 72-hour program has reached 27 million volunteer contacts through Saturday, hitting 3 million voters this Saturday alone. By and large, this effort will have its impact on Election Day and will not show up in most public opinion polls.
The Stakeholder:: DCCC on Robocalls has the most recent list of districts where calls are reported. If you know of calls in other districts please let me know.
Dirty Tricks 2006: GOP Spends $600k on Late Night Attack Phone Calls
Republicans Caught Making Calls to Democratic Voters in the Dead of Night to Anger and Turn Them Off to Voting and Dampen Turnout
… Last week alone, the NRCC spent the following money on attack phone calls on the following Democratic candidates. One news report estimated each call costs only 5 cents each.
* AZ-05: Harry Mitchell: $8210.76
* CA-04: Charlie Brown: $16,617.24
* CA-11: Jerry McNerney: $4120.28
* CA-50: Francine Busby: $2641.68
* CO-04: Angie Paccione: $10,456.32
* CT-02: Joe Courtney: $12,844.56
* CT-04: Diane Farrell: $44,964.56
Click through for the rest of the most recent list.
It appears that voters in districts around the country are receiving election calls at all hours.
IN ADDITION to the push polls, Republicans are receiving pleasant calls during the day encouraging them to show up and vote, and the calls are very finely targeted to the things that voter is likely to care about, based on information about the voter that is collected through “data mining.” (This is called “microtargeting.”)
Independent voters and Democrats are receiving calls that SAY they are from the Democratic candidate, but really are not. “Hi I am so-and-so, the Democratic candidate for Congress.” Then there is a pause. If the voter does not hang up the voter hears a smear message about the Democrat. If the voter DOES hang up, they are called again and again, late into the night, even at 5 or 6 in the morning, and the voice says, “Hi I am so-and-so, the Democratic candidate for Congress.” The idea is to make voters angry at the Democratic candidate, thinking the candidate was calling them over and over at all hours.
I suspect that almost NO ONE is those key districts is going to show up to vote for that Democratic candidate.
If you are receiving “robocalls” or push poll calls:
1 888 DEM VOTE is the DNC’s voter protection hotline, and the testimonials received will be the foundation for any legal action, as well as a reliable central repository for follow-up contact information.
This number operates 24/7 in English and Spanish and provides callers with information about their poll locations, enables them to report complaints they have before or on Election Day, connects them to a designated DNC or State Democratic Party Election Protection operation if needed, and provides general information regarding voting rights issues.
People can also download flyers to print and distribute: