So You Want Some Field Diaries

This past cycle I worked as a regional field director in Iowa.  In this position I was responsible for a paid summer canvass with eight full-time canvassers, and three field offices with a total four field organizers.  The region was between six and nine counties depending on the person you asked and the day you asked them, with the largest being Story (population 80k), Webster (40k) and Marshall (40k).

My job was basically to manage the canvassers and organizers, and to work with the local parties and political interests in the smaller counties where we didn't have dedicated staff.  It was made quite a bit easier by the fact that we had four targeted state house races and two targeted senate races, which meant four additional paid staff in the region to start and thirteen people by the end of the campaign.  (I wasn't in charge of them, but we did coordinate when necessary.)

This post is substantially similar to my exit memo, scrubbed of anything that should be kept private or was obviously unique to my situation.

There's more...

In Iowa? Help a Congressional Challenger.

Selden Spencer needs to get a bunch of signatures to get on the ballot in the 4th district of Iowa (currently held by Republican Tom Latham), and the filing deadline is only two weeks away.  Without him, we leave this seat unchallenged.  If you live in any of the following counties, please print out the third page of this form, fill it out (his county is Story), and collect some signatures.  You can mail completed forms to:

Spencer for Congress
823 Ashwood Dr.
Huxley, IA 50124

Those counties and the number of signatures needed are:

Allamakee - 69
Boone - 141
Calhoun - 45
Cerro Gerdo - 268
Chickasaw - 75
Dallas - 219
Emmet - 49
Floyd - 87
Franklin - 47
Greene - 50
Hamilton - 78
Hancock - 50
Hardin - 81
Howard - 53
Humboldt - 43
Kossuth - 83
Madison - 68
Marshall - 189
Mitchell - 56
Palo Alto - 50
Pocahontas - 37
Story - 466
Warren - 215
Webster - 192
Winnebago - 55
Winnishiek - 108
Worth - 46
Wright - 59

There's more...

Governor Survey Results Breakdown

I did a series of posts on my own blog in May about governor approval ratings, breaking them down by legislature partisanship, 2004 Presidential winner, region, and swing state status.

I completely missed the June results, but the ones for July are out now, and I thought I'd revisit these divisions to see how they are holding up.

The first thing to note is that the general trend has been negative for Democrats and positive for Republicans.  While we are still ahead overall, our average net difference is now down from about 3 points to about .75 points.

The trends though are basically the same.

(All comparisons are party to party unless otherwise stated.)

Republicans are still more popular in the midwest (11% to -3%) and northeast (13% to 0%), Democrats are still way more popular in the south (21% to 2%), the mountain west still loves everyone (28% to 27%) and the west coast still hates everyone (-10% to -25%, in the only comparison where Democrats gained in July).

Here's a graph of this whole trend:
governor region graph.gif

Democrats still did phenominally better in Bush states (21%) than they are in Kerry states (-5%).  Republicans, on the other hand, are still about the same in both (8% and 9%).

Both parties are still much more popular outside of swing states (17% D, 12% R) than they are in them (-2% D, -4% R).

Still nothing really exciting to say about state legislatures.

I didn't make much of an attempt at analysis back then, but these surveys confirm one pretty significant finding - southern Democrats are ridiculously more popular than southern Republicans.  You can't really chalk it up to temperment of the population as you can with the west; there is something really significant here.

I know in Iowa a lot of Democrats are of the view that southerners have some sort of complex where they are only willing to vote for other southerners.  It seems to me that there is a lot more to it than simple regional prejudice.

It could just be that by the nature of the political terrain southern Democrats are forced to be more moderate while southern Republicans are able to live out their wild-eyed anti-American fantasies.  I'd venture that this plays a part, but it is still hard to explain how someone like Bob Riley, a relatively moderate Republican, has such high negatives as compared to Democrats with not-too-different ideologies.

I don't have all the answers, but I think some discussion on the issue would be healthy.  Any thoughts from you, dear readers?

(If you find this diary helpful and/or are interested in Iowa progressive politics, check out my blog at


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