Politics

Pro-choice group unveils detailed plan to sway ‘Obama defectors’ back to Obama

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

NARAL Pro-Choice America plans to target pro-choice “Obama defector” women this election cycle to help secure a Barack Obama second term.

The abortion-rights group rolled out their new election strategy to reporters at their Washington, D.C. headquarters Wednesday, laying out their model, created by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR), to help Obama win the women’s vote this cycle.

Their goal: To win over pro-choice female voters who voted for Obama in 2008 but are not planning to vote for him, do not plan to turn out, or are only weakly supporting him in 2012.

“If you’ve heard me say it, you’ve heard a thousand other pundits say it over this last year that women are going to make the difference in this election and so the candidate that can persuade and turn out women voters will be the candidate we will call Mr. President,” said NARAL president Nancy Keenan, who added that given the candidates’ stances on reproductive rights, the choice for NARAL and pro-choice women is clearly Obama.

According to NARAL’s model, based on extrapolations from GQRR’s extensive survey and consumer data, there are over 5.1 million women pro-choice “Obama defectors” nationwide, 1.2 in battleground states, and 338,020 in 25 key battleground counties.

NARAL policy director Beth Shipp explained that a lot of the pro-choice shift away from Obama has nothing to do with abortion but rather the economy, which “still sucks” she noted.

“Those people are still pro-choice and if you talk to them about choice and relay to them how important it is this election and why their reproductive rights are at risk they can come back to the fold,” Shipp said, recalling that past NARAL polling has shown that some pro-choicers will vote for a candidate based on his abortion stance alone.

Vice president at GQRR, Drew Lieberman, reiterated Shipp’s contention, that the defection has nothing to do with abortion and added that the issue can help bring them back to Obama.

“The people we found that are Obama defectors are for the same reason anybody would be an Obama defector — whether it is the economy, not up to the job — we tested all these themes before,” Lieberman said, explaining that the abortion issue is one that has the ability to move these unenthusiastic women to the polls.

NARAL plans to focus their reproductive rights message on the 338,020 pro-choice “Obama defector” women in battleground counties — located in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin — for maximum influence in potentially close outcome areas.

“We think that these 25 counties are the ones that are actually going to decide the election,” Shipp explained.

The group says they plan spend between $2.5 million – $3 million targeting these women for their votes through cable, online and social media advertising. As well as volunteer efforts such as “peer-to-peer” personal phone calls.

In keeping with the idea of experimenting to see what works in vote targeting, GQRR and NARAL plan to keep a control group that does not receive their messaging throughout the election in order to see how effective their campaign is and make any adjustments for future elections.

The group will begin their “persuasion campaign” around Columbus Day. NARAL plans to follow it up with a base turnout campaign the last couple weeks of the election.

Keenan spoke about reproductive rights at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Sept. 4.

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