Incumbent Governor Martin O’Malley faced both a severely unmotivated base and a statistical dead heat in statewide polling in the months leading up to re- election. In addition, the 2010 Primary Election results showed a steep decline in Democratic voter participation – nearly 100,000 fewer Democrats voted in the Primary than in 2006, while Republican participation surged by 50,000. In order to win re-election and overcome the significant enthusiasm gap between the parties, the Governor needed a strong mobilization effort in the base Democratic counties of Baltimore City, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.
Field Strategies’ staff orchestrated a massive voter contact program focused on turning out Democratic African American voters in the three key Democratic counties, making a strong push to the state’s Early Vote Program. Using Diane Feldman’s research and focus group-tested messaging, the program included multiple layers of communication through door-to-door canvassing, strong visibility, phones, and mail efforts. Activity lasted 6 weeks before a GOTV pull of supporters.
Field Strategies sent out over 4,000 canvass shifts and knocked on over 384,000 doors resulting in over 93,000 personal contacts, layering the messaging with 9 waves of mail and over 802,000 phone contacts. Election return analysis shows that Democratic margins of victory in targeted counties grew from 279,769 to 394,638 votes from 2006, an increase of nearly 41%. Victories in these counties led the Governor to a 2010 statewide margin of 268,642 votes.