by DocJess, 6/10/08
The New York Times had a very interesting map set that looked at gas prices nationwide, median income nationwide, and what percentage of income is spent on gasoline.
Now, of course, the lower the median income, the higher the percentage of income spent on gasoline. It is also true that there would be a lower percentage of income spent in urban areas compared to rural areas irrespective of the median income owing to the greater number of people who utilize mass transit.
I studied these maps, and they made me think of several things. One is the relationship of politics and economy, and what that means for the 2008 election. Now, a lot of people would think “Oh, she must be talking about the types of economic plans the candidates will put forth, and how those plans will influence people and affect the November election.” Those people don’t know me very well!
I’m thinking about how the increase in gas prices, food prices, and everything else will affect HOW we campaign this cycle.
For example, will we be using central call centers to the extent we always have in the past, or will we be getting our people to do more calling from home because they need to save the gas? If they make more calls from home, does that benefit the campaigns with a better internet calling center? Or are all races affected by the fact that more calls get made per person when there is the group all in one place, working together? How does the cost of gas affect the ability to get people out to call centers, and for door-knocking?
What happens to voter registration drives? These do not have the benefit of allowing people to call, these must be face-to-face: will we be able to staff them? Will people who are out, having compressed their errands to save gas, still have enough time to fill out the forms?
In terms of GOTV efforts, does it suddenly become more difficult to organize in rural areas?
Will the cost of gasoline affect voter turnout? If so, enough to get more states to follow the Oregon model and move to mail-in ballots?
And finally — is anyone but me thinking about this?