Unprecedented mobilization of millions of education voters underway
NEA members and families are a unique and rich voting bloc poised to make a difference in November
WASHINGTON - October 24, 2008 -
With less than two weeks remaining in the 2008 campaign, the National Education Association is fully engaged in an unprecedented effort to mobilize its members and their families to elect friends of public education at the national, state and local levels.
"Watch NEA members and their families on election night if you want to know the outcome of races across the country," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "Our members are in every precinct, county, congressional district and state. Given our unique demographic makeup-women, rural and suburban members-we are the typical swing voter of the 2008 election."
NEA is a huge voting bloc with 3.2 million members. When immediate family members are factored in, that audience grows to more than 5 million potential voters.
"In the last two weeks of the campaign, our focus is on getting our members and their families to the polls," said Van Roekel. "We are uniquely positioned to make a difference in closely contested races up and down the ticket."
In 15 presidential battleground states targeted by NEA, members and their families comprise 2.3 million potential voters. And in what the campaign experts identify as states rich with swing voters that could tip the election, NEA is poised to capitalize on the strength of its members. In Florida, NEA members and their families include 309,915 potential voters; North Carolina, 128,769; Colorado, 78,499; and New Hampshire, 34,904.
The number of NEA members and their families eligible to vote are equally impressive when other targeted races are considered.
In four gubernatorial races targeted by NEA-Indiana, North Carolina, Missouri, and Washington-there are almost half a million possible voters comprised of members and their families. In 11 Senate races targeted by NEA, almost three-fourths of a million voters are up for grabs. Similarly, in 54 congressional races targeted by NEA, there are almost 900,000 potential voters among members and their families.
In addition to traditional phone banking and canvassing operations running through Election Day, NEA members from nontargeted or battleground states are volunteering to canvass, and make calls to voters, in battleground states. Two hundred California Teachers Association members, for example, made calls to northern Nevada during a recent meeting. Members from Illinois volunteered in Iowa and Indiana, and New Jersey members drove to Pennsylvania recently. This weekend, members from Delaware and Maryland are canvassing and phone banking in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
NEA also is employing multifaceted, personalized communication tools based on micro-targeting models. NEA is communicating with members and their families in unprecedented ways-via Web sites, emails, blogs, mail and cable ads.
For example, in October, NEA launched a new Web site and distributed a mailer to undecided members in battleground states pointing out Sen. McCain's wrongheaded prescription plan for what ails America's health care system. The Web site, http://www.mccainhealthcaretax.com/, enables members and their families to check the facts about McCain's plan and lobby him to change his position.
More generally, NEA and its affiliates to date have:
" Distributed more than 21.3 million pieces of mail
" Made more than 2.1 million phone calls
" Sent more than 1.3 million emails to members in battleground states
" Began defining John McCain in the spring, sending 2 million pieces of mail before Labor Day.
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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization,
representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.
CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez (202) 822-7758