Your Vote Counts: Winning by a GASP
In the little I did about campaigning, I was plagued and hindered by the thought that I wasn’t doing any good for my candidate. Phone-banking–well, I did it, but at the same time I know I’ve never been persuaded of anything by somebody calling me from a campaign. Same thing with door-to-door canvassing.
However, when I look at the campaign group that formed and blossomed in my town in only the last weeks of the campaign, I’m convinced as never before that every single vote matters, and that every effort to help a voter get registered and to the polling place counts.
Here’s the persuasive (to me) data: GASP began with ten women about six weeks before the election. By election night, there were more than a thousand: registering people to vote, cooking meals for volunteers, writing, making calls, and giving many thousands of dollars.
Then when the votes were in, North Carolina went for Obama, first time for a Democrat since Carter in 1976, by roughly 14,000 votes. Wake, where GASP was at work, went for Obama by about 15 percentage points. Had Obama led in Wake by only 12 points, Obama would have lacked the votes to win the state.
Though it cannot be absolutely nailed down, I am convinced that the 1,000 + women made the difference. Disclosure: I’m not even officially a GASPER, never went to the first meeting. But from now on, when doubts arise about whether my effort will help, I’m going to remember this, and do what I can.
Addendum: GASP is now looking at what their next effort should be.