Appendix R: Maine’s Question 1

Part 1: Six Observations

During the time I was writing this report, I acquired significant information about the No on 1 campaign and its effort to retain same-sex marriage in Maine.

The information included all of the TV ads used by both sides. Some important similarities and differences between the No on 1 and No on 8 campaigns are apparent from the TV ads alone. The TV ads are worth significant attention for two reasons: first, because No on 1 and No on 8 allocated the largest share of campaign communications resources to airing them; and second, because Yes on 1 and Yes on 8 shared the same campaign consulting team and it ran very similar campaigns in both states.

Other material and data, including research shared by Third Way and my experience in Maine on the ground running a small test of voter persuasion arguments, illuminate other similarities and differences between No on 1 and No on 8 that merit analysis.

As a result, throughout the report, where I have enough data from which to suggest hypotheses or draw conclusions, I have referenced the experience in Maine. I acknowledge that my information about the Question 1 campaign is much less complete than that regarding the Prop 8 campaign. Even so, I can offer six observations.

1. The Opposition Knew that its Appeal to Anti-Gay Prejudice was the Key to its Success

The anti-gay Yes on 1 campaign in Maine, like the Yes on 8 campaign in California, was directed by Schubert Flint, the media firm that made the TV ads. Schubert Flint exported its main message from California and brought it to Maine, focusing on the phony argument that kids were in danger. Schubert Flint’s ads in Maine placed even more emphasis on this appeal to anti-gay prejudice than their counterparts in California, indicating that the consulting firm realized that the kids argument was the core part of its strategy that won votes in California.

See Finding 2 for a discussion of the Yes on 8 ads that showcased this strategy in California.

2. The Pro-LGBT Side Tended to Avoid Rather than Rebut the Kids Argument, Even When it was Losing Ground in Regular tracking Polls

The No on 1 campaign in Maine, like No on 8 in California, avoided directly addressing the opposition’s fear-mongering about children, even though voter susceptibility to it seemed likely given the outcome in California. No on 1 made some specific message choices different from those of No on 8—it responded quickly with an unrelated argument about children, and some of its ads much more clearly depicted LGBT people— but the remarkable similarity is that neither campaign directly rebutted in its TV ads the fears stimulated by our opposition in their TV ads.

See Finding 4 for the full discussion of this topic.

3. The Pro-LGBT Side was of Two Minds about Whether to De-Gay the Campaign

The No on 1 campaign included more LGBT people in its TV ads than any previous campaign, by far. In my opinion, this was an important step forward. Yet No on 1’s ads were crafted so that it was perhaps not obvious to most voters when they were viewing LGBT people in the ads. Only sparingly did No on 1 ads clearly communicate that a person on-screen was gay in a way every viewer would understand. No on 1 was particularly coy when it came to language. In its TV ads, No on 1 used the word “gay” only one time in one ad. In California, No on 8 used the word “gay” one time in two ads.

It is beyond the scope of this report to evaluate the entire range of No on 1 campaign communications with voters. Anecdotally, some Mainers have told me that they used the word “gay” and were clear and direct talking with voters about same-sex marriage, and I believe them. But the campaign did not systematically make those kinds of choices. Instead, the No on 1 leaflet included in this section is the kind of classic de-gayed communication that is functionally content-free from the point of view of most voters; and this leaflet was the only handout provided to the door-to-door canvass to use as they asked Cumberland County voters to vote early by mail. Most importantly, the No on 1 TV ads very likely represented the overwhelming majority of communications voters received from the No on 1 campaign. For many voters, the content of the TV ads probably was the No on 1 campaign.

See Finding 5 for the full discussion of this topic.

4. For the Pro-LGBT Side, a Financial Advantage, by Itself, is not Enough to Win

The No on 1 campaign in Maine, like the No on 8 campaign in California, outspent the opposition. In Maine, however, No on 1 benefitted from a far greater financial advantage than No on 8, particularly in the early weeks of the final phase of the campaign. No on 1 more clearly than No on 8 helps us know that outspending the opposition is not enough to drown out the opposition message and is not a substitute for rebutting the opposition message.

See Finding 5 for a more detailed discussion

5. A Thorough Search to Hire Principal Consultants May Be a Wise Investment of Time and One to Ensure Exposure to a Variety of Ideas about How to Run the Campaign

No on 1’s hiring process for its principal consultants was brief and narrow compared to the approach this report recommends. Other choices made by the campaign limited its exposure to a range of ideas and to timely critique of its approach.

See Recommendation 11 for a more detailed discussion.

6. Better-Than-Average Early Preparation Characterized the Efforts in both Maine and California

In its preparations in advance of the ballot measure, EqualityMaine did a significantly more thorough job than is the norm, particularly in identifying voters supportive of same-sex marriage. This was a smart focus, particularly given that the Question 1 election was held in an off-year; turnout was very high for an off-year, but still far lower than in a presidential election year.

This report is not, of course, a full and thorough evaluation of the totality of the No on 1 campaign. The point of providing the information in this appendix is to help people begin the process of learning from the experience in Maine and to encourage the leaders of the No on 1 campaign to consider further evaluation of their campaign.

Part 2: Canvassing Literature









 

Part 3: Advertisement Transcripts

No on 1 Ad Transcriptions

No on 1 Radio ad: Empathy (9/11/09) –

Narrator

All Maine parents want the same things for their children. To teach them the main values of fairness and equality. And to protect them from sex and violence. But extremists from away are trying to harm our kids and schools by deceiving Maine families about what’s taught in our classrooms. It won’t work. Because no matter what your family looks like, marriage equality means all children will be treated with respect. Vote NO on 1. Protect Maine Equality.

 

 

Equality Maine TV ad: Together (aired 8/19/09)

Narrator

Something happens when you cross the border into this state. It’s not that the water changes or the mountains. There’s just something about Maine that makes it different. It’s the people. Maine ways. Maine ways. Whether you’re born here or move here it gets into your blood; it’s how you’re brought up. You know in Maine, no one tells anyone else how to live. We all share Maine values. Maine values. Fairness. Respect for each other. Strong and healthy families. We know the best way to protect and raise kids is in a loving and committed family. Where all families are accepted. We don’t make one set of rules for some and another set for others. That’s why everyone should be able to marry the person they love. Here in Maine. Together. Together. Together. Together. We can protect equality.

 


No on TV 1: Sam Putnam (aired 9/2/09)

Sam Putnam

I’m Sam Putnam. I have two moms. We are an average family. I consider my mom’s partner my stepmom but society doesn’t. My school doesn’t. My doctor doesn’t. Sometimes my friend’s parents don’t either. My family doesn’t mean to other people what it means to me.

Jennifer Putnam

We are just like a lot of other families in Maine. We have our ups and downs and we stick together and we love each other.

Sam Putnam

We can’t be seen as lesser and if you vote NO then it’ll help change that. Please do the right thing.

 

No on 1 TV ad: Bill Whitten (aired 9/2/09)

Bill Whitten

I have two daughters. The older one is straight. The younger one is gay. I was captain of the football and baseball teams. Then I went to the University of Maine and played college football for awhile. After college I joined the Marine Corps. It’s just so important that people just look at other people as not what they are but who they are, and I’ve been through a transition and I’m just much more accepting of everybody. Everyone should be allowed to live the way they want to live.

 

No on 1 TV Response Ad: “Clearing up Distortions” (aired 9/16/09)

Narrator

Schools should be safe havens where children can learn and be accepted. In Maine, we protect all families and we all want to keep our children safe. That’s the Maine way. But outsiders are trying to harm our kids and schools by deceiving families about what’s taught in Maine classrooms. It won’t work. Because in Maine, all families put children first.

Sherri Gould: 2005 National Teacher of the Year—Corrina

“I’ve been teaching in Maine schools since 1983. We teach respect and Maine values. That will never change.”

Narrator          

 Vote NO on 1. Protect Maine Equality.

 

No on 1 Radio Ad: “Haven” (aired 9/18/09)

Narrator

Maine people have been speaking out about why they support Maine equality and how important it is to protect our kids.

“Schools should be safe havens where children can learn and be accepted.”

Narrator

That’s the Maine way. But outsiders are trying to harm our kids and schools, by deceiving families about what’s taught in Maine classrooms, by using a Boston professor who knows nothing about Maine and tells us that everything will change, from religious tax exemptions to our schools. That’s ridiculous. Neither religion nor schools are even in Question 1. All Maine parents want the same things for their families. To protect them. To teach them the Maine values of fairness and equality.

Sherri Gould: National Teacher of the Year from Corrina, Maine.

“I’ve been teaching in Maine schools since 1983. We teach respect and Maine values. That will never change.”

Narrator          

 Vote NO on 1. To Protect Marriage Equality.

 


No on TV 1: All Families (aired 9/25/09)

Narrator

Everyone should be allowed to live the way they want to live. What’s wrong with making marriage equal among all Maine people? It’s not anybody’s business to interfere with personal decisions. Whatever you believe, is it really fair to stand in the way of someone’s happiness or personal decisions? Everyone should be treated equally. You may disagree, but people have a right to live how they want to live. Vote NO on 1 to protect marriage equality.

 

NO on 1 TV ad: Proud (aired 9/25/09)

Narrator

In Maine, we’re proud of every family and every child regardless of who their parents are. That’s the Maine way. But outsiders are trying to harm our kids and make them feel ashamed by making false claims about what’s taught in Maine classrooms. They’re baseless. Not true. It won’t work.

Sarah Franklin: South Portland School Teacher—forty-five years

“Schools should be safe havens for children. Places where all children feel welcome, accepted, and safe.”

Narrator

Vote NO on 1 to protect marriage equality.

 

No on 1 TV ad: Book (aired 10/08/09)

Narrator

A single mother or father, divorced, straight or gay, grandparents. In Maine we have many different kinds of parents. But outsiders are trying to make these families feel ashamed by using scare tactics about a book that simply values all families. Read the book yourself at protectmaineequality.org. Then ask if we should be ashamed of any family in it. Attacks like these hurt families, and that’s not the Maine way. Vote NO on 1 to protect marriage equality.

 

NO on 1 TV ad: Mom (aired 10/12/09)

Grandma

Raymond and Ronny are very special. They have a beautiful home. A loving home. My grandchild, he’s safe there and they take good care of him. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I’ve been a Catholic all my life. My faith means a lot to me. Marriage to me is a great institution that works, and that’s what I want for my children too. I know that the people of Maine will see that and will come through for us.

 

NO on 1 TV ad: Opinion (aired 10/19/09)

Maine’s Attorney General

Question 1 would have no impact on educational curriculum in Maine public schools.

Narrator

Yet they continue to attack with false statements about our schools. Attacks that are baseless. Not true. It’s common sense. Maine schools wouldn’t allow something inappropriate to be taught. The Bangor Daily News said it best: “Voting NO on 1 will reiterate Maine’s commitment to equality and acceptance of families of all types.”

Narrator

Vote NO on 1 to protect marriage equality.

 

NO on 1 TV ad: Stand (aired 10/29/09)

Narrator

It’s time to take a stand. To protect Maine values. To guarantee equality for all. To fight for what’s fair. To respect one another. It’s time for all Maine families to feel safe and protected, and to be able to live the life they want to live without interference. It’s time to promise a fair and equal future for all Maine families. On Tuesday it’s time to vote No on 1 to protect marriage equality.

 


NO on 1 TV ad: Clear (aired 10/30/09)

Narrator

On Tuesday, Maine has a clear choice. We can choose to treat some Maine families differently. To make these families feel ashamed. To deny them basic protections like health care, or making sure their children are cared for when a parent die. Or we can choose equality, and make Maine a place where all families are equal and have the same protections. Voting No on 1 means equality for all Maine families, and that’s the best choice for Maine.



 

Yes on 1 Ad Transcriptions

Yes on 1 Radio ad: Consequences (aired 9/15/09)

Narrator

Special interest groups got the legislature to approve homosexual marriage and tried to prevent Mainers from voting

Representative Charlie Priest: “We are not to send it out to referendum”

Narrator But Question 1 gives us our vote.

Scott Fitzgibbon, Professor of Law from Boston College Law School.

“Unless Question 1 passes there will be real consequences for Mainers. It will no longer be live and let live. Homosexual marriage will be the law whether Mainers like it or not. Distinguished legal scholars wrote the governor, warning of the flood of lawsuits against individuals, small businesses and religious groups. Church organizations could lose their tax exemption, and in Massachusetts homosexual marriage is taught in public schools. Federal courts have ruled that parents have no right to notice, or to pull their children out of this instruction.”

Narrator

Vote YES on Question 1 to preserve traditional marriage between one man and one woman. Paid for by Stand For Marriage Maine.

 






 Ad unavailable

Yes on 1 TV ad: Consequences (aired 9/15/09)

Narrator

Special interest groups got the legislature to approve homosexual marriage and tried to prevent Mainers from voting. But Question 1 gives us our vote.

Professor Scott T. Fitzgibbon, Boston College Law School

Unless Question 1 passes there will be real consequences for Mainers. Legal experts predict a flood of lawsuits against individuals, small businesses, and religious groups. Church organizations could lose their tax exemption. Homosexual marriage taught in public schools whether parents like it or not.

Narrator

Vote YES on Question 1 to preserve traditional marriage between one man and one woman.

 

Yes on 1: “Everything To Do With Schools” (aired 9/22/09)

Narrator

Opponents of Question 1 say that legalizing homosexual marriage has nothing to do with schools.

Woman

“But it has everything to do with schools. After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, our son came home and told us the school taught him that boys could marry other boys. He’s in second grade. We tried to stop public schools from teaching children about gay marriage but the courts said we had no right to object or pull him out of class.”

It’s already happened in Massachusetts. Vote YES on Question 1 to prevent homosexual marriage from being taught in Maine schools.

 

Yes on 1 TV ad: “Safe Schools” (aired 10/5/09)

Narrator

Opponents of Question 1 say that homosexual marriage would only come up in schools so that students would feel safe. But California’s curriculum shows what really happens. The author of the book for 1st graders says: “The whole purpose of the book was to get the subject out into the minds and the awareness of children before they are old enough to have been convinced there’s another way of looking at life.” This Maine teacher is a gay activist already pushing this type of agenda. Vote YES on Question 1 to prevent homosexual marriage from being pushed on Maine students.

 

Yes on 1 TV ad: Give Me A Break (aired 10/16/09)

Narrator

Here’s how some Massachusetts schools teach about gay marriage:

NPRs All Things Considered 9-13-04

 “Already some gay advocates are working on a gay-friendly curriculum for kindergarten and up. I know that, OK, this is legal now. If somebody wants to challenge me, I say give me a break. She says the debate around gay marriage is prompting kids to ask a lot more questions, like what is gay sex. Which Allen answers thoroughly and explicitly.”

Narrator

Vote YES on Question 1 to prevent this from happening in Maine.

 

Yes on 1 TV ad: They Said (aired 10/23/09)

Narrator

In the 2005 campaign, they said they weren’t pushing for homosexual marriage. But now we know they were.

“Literally we launched this campaign back in 2005.”

Now they say they won’t push teaching homosexual marriage to children in Maine’s schools.

Yet they are already pushing gay-friendly books in preschools, and hiring paid gay advisors in public schools. Last time they deceived us. Now it’s our kids who will suffer. Vote YES on Question 1 to prevent homosexual marriage from being pushed on Maine children.

 

Yes on 1 Radio ad: They Said (aired 10/23/09)

Narrator

In the 2005 campaign, the same people opposing Question 1 today said they weren’t pushing for homosexual marriage. But now we know they were. Here’s Monica Hofflinger of the No on Question 1 campaign speaking at a meeting of supporters:

“Literally we launched this campaign back in 2005.”

Now they say they won’t push teaching homosexual marriage to children in Maine’s schools.

Jesse Connolly, the campaign manager for No on 1 said quote,

“Question 1 has nothing to do with schools or education.”

Yet some of the same people behind the No on 1 campaign are already pushing to require gay-friendly books in preschools, hiring gay advisors in public schools, and even appointing gay advocates in every school building. These recommendations are of an official state commission report to the governor’s cabinet. In 2005, they deceived us. Now it’s our kids who will suffer. Vote YES on Question 1 to prevent homosexual marriage from being pushed on Maine children. Paid for by Stand for Marriage Maine.

 

YES on 1 TV ad: It’s possible (aired 10/27/09)

Narrator

Same sex marriage is controversial across America. Voters in every state to vote have rejected it. Abandoning traditional marriage entails real consequences, yet we want to be tolerant of gays. Maine’s domestic partnership laws provide substantial protection for gay couples. Any problems remaining can be addressed without dismantling traditional marriage. It’s possible to support civil rights of all citizens and protect traditional marriage at the same time. A YES vote on Question 1 preserves marriage between one man and one woman.

 


YES on 1 TV ad: It’s Already Happening (aired 10/29/09)

Narrator

Gay activists throughout the nation are pushing homosexual marriage across New England. They’ve poured over four million dollars into Maine, and they’re already pushing their agenda in Maine’s schools. No on 1 leaders are behind an official Maine commission report recommending gay teachers come out at school as a role model to students. They want gay-friendly books in daycare facilities and to appoint gay advocates in every school building. It’s already happening here. Don’t be fooled. Gay marriage will be taught in Maine’s schools unless we vote YES on Question 1.




 


 

Part 4: List of Public Polling

 

Date of Poll

Pollster

In Favor

Opposed

Undecided

April 2008

2008 Pan Atlantic SMS Services

49.5%

47.3%

3.3%

Sept. 14 - 16

Research 2000/Daily Kos

48%

46%

6%

Sept. 23 - 27

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR)

41%

50%

9%

Sept. 30 - Oct. 7

Pan Atlantic SMS Services

43%

52%

5%

Oct. 16 - 19

Public Policy Polling

48%

48%

4%

Oct. 20 - 22

Pan Atlantic SMS Services

42%

53%

6%

Oct. 31 - Nov. 1

Public Policy Polling

51%

47%

2%


Part 5: Persuasion Phone Bank Script, Memo to Campaign Manager, and Revised Script

When No on 1 ran a phone bank testing our ability to persuade undecided voters to vote No, our team called a small sample of voters identified as undecided earlier in the campaign, and scored as most likely to break towards No (having a “marriage score” of 90 or more out of a possible 100). The script is attached below.

 Of this group that should have been very favorably disposed towards us, 29% ended the conversation planning to vote No; 44% planned to vote Yes; and the remaining 27% were concerned about the kids issue, and we were in danger of losing them. I wrote up notes and recommendations from the experience and submitted a memo to the campaign manager with the revised script and encouraged them to follow up. The memo and revised script are attached below.

Persuasion Script 1st Test, October 20

 

Hi, _____, my name is _______, and I’m a volunteer with the No on 1 campaign. We’re checking in about the vote on marriage for gay and lesbian couples. What’s your view, do you want to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples, or do you want to allow marriage for gay and lesbian couples?

 

[if they’re a 2, already support marriage] Great! We’re checking in because the ballot is confusing: you have to vote NO if you support marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Did you already know that, that you need to vote NO on 1?

 

[if they’re a 4, want to BAN marriage] [friendly tone!] Thanks for telling me – and what’s the most important reason you feel that way?

 

[if they’re a 3, undecided or refuse] [friendly!] OK [or] I hear you. Do you have some concerns?

 

[ask clarifying questions until you understand their concern -- you might use one of these]:

 

CHURCH It sounds like your faith is important to you.

TRADITION/ 1 MAN 1 WOMAN It sounds like tradition is important to you.

CHILDREN It sounds like you’re concerned about what children will be taught in schools.

 [if you’re not sure what their concern is] Can you tell me a little more, what concerns you the most when you think about gay and lesbian couples getting married?

 

 

[if their main concern is ANYTHING EXCEPT CHILDREN, try one of these]:

 

Are you married / have you been married? [if yes, then follow up with one or more of the following]: Why did you get married? Has marriage been a good thing for you? What’s been the best part of marriage for you?

[after you’ve heard them talk about how great marriage is]: You know, those are the same reasons gay and lesbian couples want to get married. [give an example or tell a story from your personal experience]

 

Do you know any gay or lesbian couples in a long-term committed relationship? Do you have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian? Are they in a long-term, committed relationship? Did you know that most gay and lesbian people enter into long-term committed relationships at some point in their lives? [give an example or tell a story from your personal experience]

Do you want to exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage, when it’s been so important to you? Do you feel OK telling an entire group of people they can’t get married when they fall in love and want to make a lasting commitment?

[after you’ve made some headway with one or more of the above] It sounds to me like you have a dilemma. Your church/ tradition/ other concern is pointing you in the direction of voting one way, but it also sounds like you don’t want to exclude an entire group of people, gay people, from such a basic human experience. You don’t sound like that kind of a person. So you’re going to have to choose. How are you going to decide?

 

[if their concern is CHILDREN, go to next page]:

 

[if their main concern is CHILDREN, take up to 3 swings]

Swing 1: Some of the TV ads you may have seen are very misleading. Gay marriage will not be taught in schools because, under Maine’s public school curricula, “marriage” is not taught in schools. [newspaper quote here to back this up]

TV ads often exaggerate. That’s why the newspaper coverage is a good reality check. Does my telling you about the newspaper coverage reassure you?

[if they’re still worried] Swing 2. Maine law is very clear. Under Maine law, the Maine attorney general concluded that kids won’t be taught about gay marriage. Does the view of the Attorney General relieve some of your concern?

[if they’re still worried] Swing 3. Let me read you the wording of Question 1. Because there is nothing in the law or in Question 1 that has anything to do with schools or education. Absolutely nothing. Here’s the text, word for word: “Question 1, People’s Veto. An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom. Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry, and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”

In other words, Question 1 isn’t about kids or schools. It doesn’t affect kids or schools. It’s a question about whether gay and lesbian couples can marry. That’s all it’s about. Does that sound right to you?

[be sure to end with this question] Now that you have more information, how do you feel about the issue – are you OK with allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry?

[if they’re now on our side] Thanks for listening, and for your support. I’m glad you’ll be voting NO on 1.

[if they’re not] Thanks for listening. Take care, and good night.

1st DRAFT Persuasion Script (as of 10/17/09)

use this script ONLY to call identified 4’s

WHY WE'RE CALLING

Hi, is _(first name)_ home? [only speak to names on list]

 

My name is _(first name)_ and I’m a volunteer with the No on 1 campaign. We’re checking in about the vote on marriage for gay and lesbian couples. What’s your view, do you want to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples, or do you want to allow marriage for gay and lesbian couples?

 

[if they want to BAN marriage] Thanks for telling me – what’s the most important reason you feel that way?

 

[if they refuse to say] Do you have any concerns about gay and lesbian couples getting married? What’s your main concern?

 

[if they support marriage, use wrong-way voter script]

 

[if they start telling you what matters to them, make sure you fully understand their #1 concern -- you might use one of these]:

 

CHURCH It sounds like your faith is important to you.

TRADITION/ 1 MAN 1 WOMAN It sounds like tradition is important to you.

CHILDREN It sounds like you’re concerned about what children will be taught in schools.

 [if you’re not sure what their concern is] Can you tell me a little more, what concerns you the most when you think about gay and lesbian couples getting married?

[if their main concern is ANYTHING EXCEPT CHILDREN, try one of these]:

 

Are you married / have you been married? [if yes, then follow up with some of the following]: Why did you get married? Has marriage been a good thing for you? What’s been the best part of marriage for you?

[after you’ve heard them talk about how great marriage is]: You know, those are the same reasons gay and lesbian couples want to get married. [give an example or tell a story from your personal experience]

 

Do you know any gay or lesbian couples in a long-term committed relationship? Do you have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian? Are they in a long-term, committed relationship? Did you know that most gay and lesbian people couple, they enter into long-term committed relationship at some point in their lives? [give an example or tell a story from your personal experience]

Do you want to exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage, when it’s been so important to you? Do you feel OK telling an entire group of people they can’t get married when they fall in love and want to make a lasting commitment?

[after you’ve made some headway with one or more of the above] It sounds to me like you have a dilemma. Your church/ tradition/ other concern is pointing you in the direction of voting one way, but it also sounds like you don’t want to exclude an entire group of people, gay people, as though they’re not fully human. You don’t sound like that kind of a person. So you’re going to have to choose. How are you going to decide?

 

 

[go to next page if their main concern is CHILDREN]

 

[if their main concern is CHILDREN, TAKE up to 3 SWINGS before you strike out]:

 

Swing 1. Some of the TV ads you may have seen are very misleading. Gay marriage will not be taught in schools because, under Maine’s public school curricula, “marriage” is not taught in schools. [newspaper quote here to back this up]

 

TV ads often exaggerate. That’s why the newspaper coverage is a good reality check. Does my telling you about the newspaper coverage reassure you?

 

 

Swing 2. [if they’re still worried] Maine law is very clear. And it’s not the same as the law may be in other states. Under Maine law, the Maine attorney general [put in her name] concluded that [quote, that kids won’t be taught about gay marriage]. Does the view of the Attorney General relieve some of your concern?

 

 

Swing 3. [if they’re still worried] Let me read you the wording of Question 1. Because there is nothing in the law or in Question 1 that has anything to do with schools or education. Absolutely nothing. When you go to vote, here’s what it will say, word for word.  Question 1: People’s Veto “Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”

 

In other words, Question 1 isn’t about kids or schools. It doesn’t affect kids or schools. It’s a question about whether gay and lesbian couples can marry. That’s all it’s about. Does that sound right to you?

[be sure to end with this question] Now that you have more information, how do you feel about the issue – are you OK with allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry?

 

[if they’re on our side, go to the wrong-way voting script to make sure they know to vote NO on 1] 

 

[if they’re against us, say thank-you and end the conversation]

 

 

One more important piece of information: some people find the ballot a little confusing. You have to vote NO if you support marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Did you already know that you need to vote NO on 1?

 

[if they knew to vote NO] I’m glad you knew! It’s confusing, and it will be a close election, and every vote counts. [GO TO Absentee Ballot question]

 

 

[ABSENTEE BALLOT QUESTION]  And one final request. We’re asking all our supporters to vote early to help defeat Question 1. Have you requested and received your Absentee Ballot yet?

 

[Not yet requested / Election Day] This is an off-year election, so voter turnout is expected as low as 50% -- Have you heard that? If only 50% of our supporters turn out to vote, we’ll lose badly. We know our supporters care deeply about this issue, but many of them never vote in off-year elections; unless someone reminds them. That’s why we’re asking every supporter we talk to, to vote NOW. Does that make sense? This is the best way to make sure we win. The Secretary of State publishes the names of people who have already voted. Once we know you voted, we take your name off our list and shift resources to those in our community who are less likely to turnout to vote. So would you reconsider early voting?

 

VOTING BY ABSENTEE BALLOT

[Ballot Already Received] Can we count on you to Vote NO on 1, and send in your ballot first thing in the morning? [If Yes, Go to VOLUNTEER ASK on other side]

 

[Requested, but not received] Thanks for requesting an absentee ballot. Did you request it more than 3 business days ago?

 

[less than 3 business days ago] Can we count on you to Vote NO on 1, as soon as you receive your ballot? [If Yes, Go to VOLUNTEER ASK on other side]

 

 [more than 3 business days ago] Let’s make sure your request went through. Are you near a computer? [GO to Request]

 

[Unsure if application went through] No problem. Are you near a computer? [GO to Request]

 

REQUEST AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

[Computer] Great. I would love for you to jump on your computer so I can walk you through this step-by-step – it only takes 3 minutes. (wait for them to get online). Type in www.VoteEarlyMaine.com. If you scroll down, you’ll see an option to request an absentee ballot. Just click there. You should receive an absentee ballot in 3 business days. Can we count on you to Vote NO on 1, as soon as you receive your ballot? [If Yes, Go to VOLUNTEER ASK]

 

[NO Computer/ In-Person Preference] Great. The easiest way to vote early is to go to your town office. You can even fill out an absentee ballot right away and vote immediately. Can we count on you to go to the town clerk’s office and vote in person tomorrow? [If Yes, Go to VOLUNTEER ASK]

 

[Will request later] Great. Would Once you’re online, just type in www.VoteEarlyMaine.com. If you scroll down, you’ll see an option to request an absentee ballot. Just fill out the information and you should receive an absentee ballot in 3 business days. Can we count on you to request an absentee ballot tonight? [If Yes, Go to VOLUNTEER ASK]

 

 

VOLUNTEER & DONATION ASK

Over the final ____ days, we must call and turn out all of our remaining supporters to vote No on 1. In addition to voting No, if you care about this issue it is critical now more than ever that you make it a priority to help us get our supporters out to vote. [INSERT SPECIFIC SHIFT ASK]

 

[ALL] Another great way to make an impact is to give financially. As you may have seen from the commercials, our opposition is trying to spread fear about this issue. We need Mainers to dig deep and give what they can so we can keep our commercials on the air and defeat Question 1. Would you be willing to make a $50 donation to this campaign today. (Fill out donation slip). Thank you so much for your support.

 

 

CLOSING

Finally, is there anyone else in your household or anyone else you know who is planning to vote NO on 1? Will you encourage them to vote early?

 

Early voting is the most important thing you can do to help us win. Thank you for committing to vote early.

 

 

RATING SYSTEM

ABS = Supporter who will request an absentee ballot right away

INP = Supporter who will vote early in person

ED = Supporter who will vote November 3

 

2 = with us, AND they now understand they have to vote NO

4 = not with us!

 

RF = Refused (would not discuss the issue)

NH = Not Home (no answer or answering machine)

WN = Wrong Number (# not working or not for that person)

 

 








































































































































Memo to Campaign Manager

Report on Persuasion Phonebank Test, 10/20/09

 

Hey folks,

 

Tonight we had a mini-mini persuasion phonebank -- a test, really, to see whether calling a subset of our 3's is productive.

 

The good news:

 

* Most of the voters we reached did, in fact, self-identify as "undecided" at the beginning of the call. Good coding!

 

* The script worked much better than I expected. We managed to engage about 20% of the voters we reached in extended conversations, some of them lasting as long as 10 minutes. Not that 10-minute conversations are our goal! But it's amazing that the questions get a significant number of voters to open up, even on the phone. Credit the learning that has taken place from our persuasion convo's in L.A.!

 

* The script rebuttal arguments on the kids and schools issue were effective, or at least partially effective. They were surprising to our voters and got their attention. Reading voters the word-for-word ballot language that they will be voting on was particularly effective. Voters were surprised, shocked, and sometimes even a little embarrassed to realize that it doesn't mention schools or kids, a point we then pounded home. This suggests to me that it's possible that an effective rebuttal communication or ad could focus on the clarity of the ballot language, followed by the Attorney General interpretation of it (this was the way the A-G quote worked best on the calls).

 

* Our conversations with those who ended up as 2's were worthwhile; these folks needed some help to avoid wrong-way voting and to get past some general confusion. Their confusion seemed to have contributed to their having been 3's earlier; they moved from 3 to 2 mostly from our giving them a clear understanding of what they were voting on.

 

The not-so-good news:

 

* The opposition TV ad message has penetrated very deeply. Almost every time we got to dug into a conversation with a voter who wasn't going to convert into a 2, the voter began with a) reticence or b) vagueness or c) "tradition" (usually articulated as one man, one woman or the way marriage has always been). But eventually, concern about kids and schools surfaced. Our best bridge tonight to surface that concern was our asking "How would your life be affected if gay and lesbian couples could get married?"; it got a response like "It wouldn't (hesitation) -- but it would affect my niece or nephew."

 

* Though we have a very small sample (55 completed conversations including refusals), only 29% clearly broke our way (16 ended as 1's or 2's). At the other end of the spectrum, 44% signaled that they are very likely voting against us (24 were 5's or refusals). The remaining 27% began and ended as 3's; we have a shot at half of them, but our grip on all of them is very much affected by the kids argument. If these voters were casting their ballot right after they got off the phone with us, we would have half of them; but if they're continually exposed to the opposition arguments without more effective rebuttal by our side, we're at high risk of losing most of them.

 

Productivity:

 

* Our 55 conversations were accomplished in something between 3 and 3 1/2 caller hours, mostly by 2 callers (myself and Phyllis, who did a good job -- we sat together, so we could listen in on parts of each other's calls). That means that one caller in one hour might be expected to average 15 completed calls per hour, including refusals as completed calls. I don't know how this compares to the productivity of other voter contact activities.

 

* Limiting factors: probably only some of our callers have a good enough grasp of the issue and good enough interpersonal skills to do these calls. At the Waterville phonebank, where 18 showed tonight, I think probably another couple could have been trained to do these well, but I'm doubtful about the rest catching on quickly.

 

Potential next steps:

 

* We could try a slightly larger test, e.g. with 6 callers on the phone for 2 hours each, to see if the above observations hold up.

 

* We could try calling a somewhat different list, e.g. 3's under 40 years old. Tonight's list was 3's with a marriage score of 90 or above.

 

* We could decide to put this aside, if we have more productive work we can do to earn votes.

 

I'm glad to offer more detail and answer any questions. Thanks, folks, for letting me give this a try tonight. To me, it felt very informative. Dave

 


aft saved at 8:21 PM

 

Revised Persuasion Script

            PERSUASION SCRIPT REVISED FOR 2ND TEST

 

Hi, _____, my name is _______, and I’m a volunteer with the No on 1 campaign. We’re checking in about the vote on marriage for gay and lesbian couples. What’s your view, do you want to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples, or do you want to allow marriage for gay and lesbian couples?

[if they already support marriage] Great! We’re checking in because the ballot is confusing: you have to vote NO if you support marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Did you already know that, that you need to vote NO on 1?

[if they want to BAN marriage] [friendly tone!] Thanks for telling me – and what’s the most important reason you feel that way?

[if they’re undecided or refuse] [friendly!] OK [or] I hear you. Do you have some concerns?

[ask clarifying questions until you understand their concern -- you might use one of these]:

CHURCH It sounds like your faith is important to you.

TRADITION/ 1 MAN 1 WOMAN It sounds like tradition is important to you.

CHILDREN It sounds like you’re concerned about what children will be taught in schools.

[if you’re not sure what their concern is] Can you tell me a little more, what concerns you the most when you think about gay and lesbian couples getting married?

 

 

[if they say ANYTHING EXCEPT CHILDREN, try one of these]:

Are you married / have you been married? [if yes, then follow up with one or more of the following]: Has marriage been a good thing for you? What’s been the best part of marriage for you?

[after you’ve heard them talk about how great marriage is]: You know, those are the same reasons gay and lesbian couples want to get married. [give example or story from your personal experience]

Do you know any gay or lesbian couples in a long-term committed relationship? Do you have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian? Are they in a long-term, committed relationship? Did you know that most gay and lesbian people enter into long-term committed relationships at some point in their lives? [give example or story from your personal experience]

Do you want to exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage, when it’s been so important to you? Do you feel OK telling an entire group of people they can’t get married when they fall in love and want to make a lasting commitment?

[after you’ve made some headway with one or more of the above] It sounds to me like you have a dilemma. Your church/ tradition/ other concern is pointing you in the direction of voting one way, but it also sounds like you don’t want to exclude an entire group of people, gay people, from such a basic human experience. You don’t sound like that kind of a person. So you’re going to have to choose. How are you going to decide?

[If you’re having difficulty figuring out what their concern is]: Would your life be affected if gay and lesbian couples could get married? Do you have any worries about how it would affect you?

 

[if their concern is CHILDREN, go to next page]:

[if their concern is CHILDREN, take up to 3 swings]

Swing 1: Let me read you the wording of Question 1. Have you read the language on the ballot that you’ll be voting on? It’s short, let me read it to you. Here’s the text, word for word: “Question 1, People’s Veto. An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom. Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry, and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”

You can see, there is nothing in here to do with kids and schools. Absolutely nothing. Question 1 isn’t about kids or schools. It’s a question about whether gay and lesbian couples can marry. That’s all it’s about. Are you a little surprised by this?

 

[if they’re still worried] Swing 2. Maine law is very clear. This is why the Maine attorney general has concluded that Question 1 won’t affect what’s taught in school. Attorney General Mills says that “The state’s same-sex marriage law has no bearing on what can be taught in public school. They’re like apples and oranges.” Does the view of the Attorney General relieve some of your concern?

 

[if they’re still worried] Swing 3. The TV ads you’ve seen are terribly misleading. Nobody wants children exposed to inappropriate material. Nobody. And your local school board has the power to make sure of it. Your local school board decides what’s taught in school. Question 1 doesn’t affect that.

 

[end with this] Now that you have more information, how do you feel – are you OK with allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry?

[if they’re now on our side] Thanks for listening, and for your support. I’m glad you’ll be voting NO on 1.

[if they’re not] Thanks for listening. Take care, and good night.

 

CODES

 

1                      strong agree will vote NO                  

2                      lean NO

3                      undecided

4                      lean YES

5                      strong disagree will vote YES

 

R                     refused tell us their view

 

 

Different types of 1’s and 2’s

ABS     supporter will request an abs ballot right away

INP                  supporter will vote early in person

ED                   supporter will vote on Election day

 

Already voted

AVN    already voted No

AVY     already voted Yes

AVR    already voted, refused to tell us which way

 

 


Part 6: Third Way’s Commissioned Research/Scattergram Surrounding the Kids Argument

Click to view full size. Reprinted with permission of Third Way.

For a detailed discussion of this topic, see Finding 1.