Alliance engages 110,000 California residents in first Civic Engagement Program

Building a progressive base of power call by call, door by door

Last fall, the California Alliance launched the first of many leading-edge, large-scale civic engagement programs to build a base of 500,000 Californians who support rebuilding and investing in California’s public infrastructure and programs.

Equipped with a state-of-the-art database and phoning system, 13 organizations in 8 regional centers mobilized to phone-call and knock on doors with a survey of voters in San Diego, East Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, San Jose and Oakland.  One hundred fourteen (114) dedicated, well-trained daily phone team members and 150 volunteers conducted in-depth interviews with 66,000 (60%) of the 110,000 voters reached through the program.

Demographic breakdown from the Fall 2009 civic engagment program
Demographic breakdown from the Fall 2009 civic engagment program

Who we talked to

This unprecedented, large-scale outreach effort was effective at reaching the demographic of voters the Alliance has targeted as critical to tipping the balance of power in the state:

  • 71% were either “Occasional” (54%) or “New” (17%) voters, people who don’t usually vote in state elections.
  • Latino, African-American, and Asian/Pacific Islanders, typically underrepresented in traditional polls, made up 68% (75,000) of the contacts.
  • 32% were “other”, the majority of which were predominately white always voters, another target demographic in the Alliance’s state power equation (see the Alliance’s “balanced suburban” social values analysis).
Voting history breakdown for Fall contactsVoting history breakdown for Fall contacts

The results of the survey show promise

  • 78% agree that Proposition 13 should be updated to protect homeowners and make sure corporations pay their fair share of taxes. Support for updating Prop 13 was particularly strong among Latino, African American, young, and infrequent voters
  • The support for changing from two-thirds to a majority requirement to pass the state budget was strong (66%), but on the bubble of the level of support needed to move this reform successfully.
  • There was 66% support for tying tax increases to specific, effective programs.

This first program demonstrates the potential of the California Alliance’s 2012 strategy – motivating 15% of occasional and new voters in key regions of the state can transform the state’s electorate and be the tipping point in progressive reform.

The Alliance is currently out in the field with its second large-scale civic engagement program, with 15 regional efforts to engage 170,000 voters in 9 counties of the state. A full report will follow May.