On Wednesday Senator Wendy Davis released a radio ad featuring Michelle Obama that will begin running this week. The First Lady gave her nod to Davis for making education the top priority of her campaign.
Mrs. Obama also highlighted Wendy’s inspiring life story calling it the “American Dream.” That means a lot coming from FLOTUS, who herself rose from humble the beginnings of a bungalow on the South Side of Chicago to her new residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The move signals that the Davis campaign is reaching out to low propensity voters who are likely Democrats, but unlikely to vote without motivation. Another term used to describe this group is “drop off voters,” — those who voted in 2008 and 2012 for Barack Obama but failed to show up to cast a vote for Bill White. There are indeed enough of these occasional Democratic voters to swing the election in the favor of Wendy Davis.
These occasional voters are not usually polled as most firms tend to use projections based on past turnout, something Democrats and Battleground Texas are working to alter the math of by talking to more voters and increasing registration totals. They also tend to use landlines which leaves out many young but otherwise active voters.
Even with these unlikely but targeted voters left out the polling, the Wendy Davis campaign has closed the gap across a spectrum of mainstream polls to single digits.
A recent poll by Progress Texas supports this strategy of reaching out to base voters with motivating issues. It found “a very high level of interest in the election of Wendy Davis.” It also found that 25% of these low propensity voters get their news from the internet and social media over television, a number that increases to 40% when considering voters 40 and under.
This is encouraging news to Progress Texas’ executive director Ed Espinoza who said, “It doesn’t take a ton of money to reach people online…And if you can change turnout, you can change the outcome.”
This ad is as much a bold move for Michelle Obama as it is for Wendy Davis. The First Lady has been the target of right wing fanatics for even her most innocuous nonpartisan efforts like addressing the obesity epidemic or her choice of wardrobe. It also shows that national Democrats see Texas as a battleground state and are willing to invest resources now.
In 2010, Michelle Obama’s launched her Let’s Move campaign to bring together parents, educators, health professionals and community leaders with the ambitious goal to end the childhood obesity epidemic in one generation. That efforts has seen the rightwing trumpeting kids complaints about the bland taste of the new healthier cafeteria food, in an attempt to embarrass the Administration. But, of course, if it were up to many of the critics there wouldn’t free lunches for poor students in the first place.
Republican Congressman Paul Ryan told the Conservative Political Action Conference, “The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul.”
The answer to a better public education system is not to defund it or offer more sugar and fatty foods for lunch. Besides, you know what else kids hate? Tests. And, if kids opinions on how the school were run was the standard, most of the day would be recess anyway.
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— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) October 8, 2014
Transcript of the radio ad:
- Hi this is Michelle Obama. On November 4th you have a chance to make a real difference for our children by voting for Wendy Davis for governor. Now for Wendy education is a top priority because she wants to give all our kids a chance to build a better life for themselves and for their families. That’s what the American dream is all about. And Wendy knows something about the American Dream.
She was the daughter of a single mother and by age 19 she was a mother herself. But Wendy worked hard. She went on to college and Harvard Law School. So Wendy Davis knows the power of education. That’s why she led the fight against the devastating education cuts in Texas. And it’s why she supports quality, full-day pre-k for Texas children.
Wendy Davis is also fighting to expand Medicaid, raise the minimum wage, and create good jobs all across Texas. This is Michelle Obama and I hope you will vote for Wendy Davis for governor on November 4th.