Former Obama pollster predicts 'crushing' Dem losses unless blacks turn out to vote

A former pollster for President Obama wrote in a memo earlier this month that the Democratic party would suffer huge losses across the country unless blacks could be energized to go out and vote.

If this is what the Dems are banking on...Surf's up!

“African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”

A former pollster for President Obama wrote in a memo earlier this month that the Democratic party would suffer huge losses across the country unless blacks could be energized to go out and vote.

If this is what the Dems are banking on...Surf's up!

“African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”

Mr. Belcher’s assessment points to an urgent imperative for Democrats: To keep Republicans from taking control of the Senate, as many are predicting, they need black voters in at least four key states. Yet the one politician guaranteed to generate enthusiasm among African Americans is the same man many Democratic candidates want to avoid: Mr. Obama.

Now, Democrats are deploying other prominent black elected officials and other surrogates, buttressed by sophisticated voter targeting efforts, to stoke black turnout. At the White House, the president is waging an under-the-radar campaign, recording video advertisements, radio interviews and telephone calls specifically targeting his loyal African-American base.

“Anybody who looks at the data realizes that if the black vote, and the brown vote, doesn’t turn out, we can’t win. It’s just that simple,” said Representative Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, referring to African-American and Latino voters. “If we don’t turn out, we cannot hold the Senate.”

African-Americans could help swing elections in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and possibly Arkansas, a New York Times analysis of voter data shows, but only if they turn out at higher-than-forecast rates. They will also be important in Kentucky, where Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic Senate candidate, refuses to say if she voted for President Obama — a stance that black leaders including Ms. Fudge fear will depress turnout.

Republicans, who are expanding outreach to African-Americans in states like North Carolina and Georgia, have their own aggressive get-out-the-vote effort, mindful of the success of the Obama campaign, which turned out voters in record numbers.

Black voters made history in 2012, exit polling and census data show, when they turned out at a rate higher than whites to help re-elect Mr. Obama. But fewer voters go to polls in midterm elections. In 2010, a disastrous year for Democrats, blacks voted at a rate lower than whites, creating a “turnout gap.”

This "turnout gap" is likely to be repeated in 2014, although even a few percentage point increase could tip a couple of very close Senate races to the Democrats. So the Dems aren't looking for miracles, as much as they are relying on their high tech targeting operation to identify black voters and then drag them to the polls.

Indications are that the plan isn't working well in early voting states. Blacks are not turning out in greater numbers than expected and it appears that the Democrats have virtually given up on getting Hispanics to the polls.

What this means is that red state Democrats like Pryor, Hagan, and Landrieu will probably not be rescued by a last minute surge in minority voting. That doesn't mean they can't pull out a victory, but their path to 50% +1 has gotten considerably narrower.