11.16.2012 08:39 AM

Robocall roundup

First Glen Murray was making them, now Kathleen Wynne.

Anyone else using them? I’m curious.


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    BCL says:

    Kathleen Wynne was first…

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    WDM says:

    Robocalls, themselves, aren’t the issue, but it is interesting that candidates are using them while a black cloud hangs over the notion of robocalls.

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      Warren says:

      That’s my point. The folks who used to complain about robocalls now doing robocalls, etc.

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        RDS says:

        As I recall, the problem was that robocalls were being made that contained misleading information, did not properly identify the caller, or were actively deceitful in identifying the caller. The fact that they were robocalls was incidental; they would have been every bit as wrong had they been made by real live human beings. It seems to me that it was the guilty parties (i.e. Tories) who started the whole business with “they make robocalls too” to obscure the fact the the issue was not the medium, it was the message. Didn’t the OLP use robocalls during the Kitchener by-election? No matter who wins the leadership, isn’t it likely that at some point the OLP might use robocalls in the future? It seems short-sighted to demonize a communication medium simply because an opponent is using it now.

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          Warren says:

          My point is this: if you are packing halls – as opposed to, say, meeting a few people in a living room – you generally don’t need to robocall.

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            Sean says:

            Exactly… But don’t underestimate the importance of living rooms / kitchen tables after the DSMs are over and you are looking to set up 2nd ballot support with elected delegates.

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    john morse says:

    Robocalls in themselves are only advertisements. Although annoying there is nothing inherently evil about them. The evil is in Robocalls which disseminate lies or misinformation, such as the inherently evil Conservative party of Canada are said to be under investigation by Elections Canada for. When Canadians replace their national embarrassment with a legally elected government that is more interested in standing up for Canada than the OILgarchy perhaps laws can be enacted to curb such activity.

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    Mom says:

    The problem with these kinds of calls is that the receiver of the call is not always the political junkie in the house!

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    Sean says:

    Having been involved in more than a few Leadership / Nomination Executive contests, I can tell you that Robocalls in internal party elections are an especially bad choice, even without all the current press. It demonstrates laziness on the part of the candidate / team, lack of enthusiasm amongst volunteers and a lack of interest in really connecting with the party members. Conversely, a big reason McGuinty won in ’96 was because he outworked everyone by personally connecting with the delegates. Pupatello, I’m told, is holding live teleconferences with members. My question to my friend who told me about this: “Is the candidate on the call”? Apparently yes, she was. “Perfect”, I said. “Thats what its all about.” Personal connection is not an “important part of the game” in an internal election. It is the game.

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    Bluegreenblogger says:

    Well having been through all this a few times before, Robocalls have their place for sure. IF you do not have the volunteer strength to make live calls, and IF you do not have the funds to pay for live outreach for prospecting purposes, THEN robocalls are useful to make the first couple of passes through your contact lists to collect low-hanging fruit. Especially if you do not have pretty thorough coverage of all EDA’s (CA’s in this case) for direct contact and filling halls etc. Fact is they are super cheap, and while not terribly effective they will do the job of reeling in a number of strong, yet currently un-identified supporters. That will yield much needed money, and start the job of building the local EDA based organisations to put the votes in the bag for you. Both in politics as in business, it is incumbent on the campaign/sales manager to leave nothing on the table, so were it my decision, I would likely say, “The hell with the Warrens and naysayers. They can gripe about robocalls until they are blue in the face, but I will continue to bank every damned vote, volunteer, and donation I can get my grubby mitts on.”
    Not that I have any stake in it, just sayin that I doubt that any opprobrium will stick, and the returns are small but may be significant in getting out of the gate quickly.

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    Iris Mclean says:

    If I got a robocall from the team of Jesus Christ himself, he’d lose my vote. Few things piss me off more than running to answer the phone only to hear a godam recorded message.

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      Bluegreenblogger says:

      You may be representative today, I don’t know as I haven’t done much politicking for awhile but I collected some decent data a few years ago that demonstrated that robocalls irritate many people…for about 10 seconds. They leave no lasting impressions, and very very seldom actually prompt any such strong feelings. Mostly, people hang up immediately. A few follow an impulse and ‘buy’ what’s on offer, about comparable to clickthrough rates on some cheesy banner ad on the internet. Recent events may have changed that but I doubt it. They are what they are, certainly not game changers, but marginally effective. The power lies in high volumes and low costs, even if the response rate is small. The efficacy lies in good targeting. Liberal Party members for example would likely be outraged by a CPC robocall, but typical reaction to a Liberal robocall would be the brief irritation. I suspect they are a pretty good voter/turnout suppression tool, as 10 seconds is enough that negative impression can be worked with and built upon. ( I have never used them for such a purpose, just hypothesizing)

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        Elisabeth Lindsay says:

        Surely to God you people must realize that robo-calls are just spam and intrusions to prospective voters.

        Why advertise that you don`t have enough supporters to man the phones?

        I have never been able to think that annoying people is anything but harmful.

        Why waste scarce money on such annoyances?

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          bluegreenblogger says:

          “Why waste scarce money on such annoyances?” – In a nutshell, because it generates net resources. For those people who have not noticed that the CPC has mastered narrowcasting messages to well identified recipients, this is one of the tools that a good database like CIMS makes possible. It also enriches the data in the ‘master’ database. If you pay someone else to deliver the robocall, then it costs less than 2 pennies per call. With a conversion rate of 1:1,000 that means that every success costs about $20. If you own the equipment, it costs much less. Do you know what the average donor gives? Well it is more than $20. Plus there are volunteers. The benefit side of the equation is very easily, and cheaply quantified. On the cost side the monetary cost is easily quantified, the annoyance factor is not so easy to quantify. Lots of anecdotal evidence that people say they would never ever support a robo-caller, but actual data is vanishingly rare. (Which is why I went to so much trouble to quantify that numinous variable). Robo-calls are unambiguously efficacous in certain circumstances though. If you are trolling through lists of non-supporters, then who cares how many you irritate, so long as you pluck the occasional jewel from the mud. Calling the faithful to arms is another. You minimise the annoyance factor by being the ‘home team’. Then there is the whole vast world of issues of interest. Volunteer armies are lovely, but what do you do when a membership list for some passionate advocates falls into your hands, and you have no phone bank with eager volunteers at your beck and call? The only reason I am writing about this is because, at the Federal level, the Liberal Party is barely a contender, and the care and feeding of a robust database is the key to consistent success. Liberals should be open to any tools that can help them, and this a small but potentially effective tool in the drawer. It SHOULD be part of the mix, and at a minimum those soft costs should be quantified before discarding it out of hand.

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    james curran says:

    Well really what else are they supposed to do? They have 8 days left to sell memberships.

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      Michael says:

      How about inspire the real members of the party, instead of relying on rent-a-members.

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