Lessons from the election, a very good summary from Andrew Gelman, including: public opinion doesn’t follow elite opinion, the income-voting gradient ("red state blue state") is over, and “much confusion could’ve been avoided during the campaign had Clinton’s share in the polls simply been reported as 52 percent of the two-party vote, plus or minus 2 percentage points”.
Gelman also reports on Clinton’s alleged ground game (unclear how exact this is, caveat emptor):
“Someone who had led Obama’s ground game in a rural area of a midwestern state sent me [Gelman] this note:
You are correct that Democrats were supposed to have an amazing ground game. More hires. More offices. A field guy as campaign manager experienced in tight field wins (DCCC 2012; McAuliffe 2013). The problem is that Clinton never ran a ground game.
When I arrived in September/October, I was astounded to discover that the field staff had spent all their time on volunteer recruitment. This meant that they were only calling people who were already friendly to Clinton and asking those same people to come into the office to call more people friendly to Clinton. At no point during the campaign did the field staff ever ID voters or do persuasion (e.g. talk to a potentially non-friendly voter). That is a call center, it is not a ground game.
Part of the reason for this is that Brooklyn read an academic piece suggesting that voter contact more than 10 days out is worthless — a direct repudiation of the organizing model used by Obama in 2008 and 2012 when field contacted each voter 4 times between July and November. The result is that the Clinton campaign started asking people to turn out for Clinton only in the final week of the election when they began GOTV work. There was no preexisting relationship. Those calls for turning out might as well have come from a Hyderabad call center for all the good they did.
I hate to see people taking the wrong lesson from this campaign. Ground games are critical for Democrats to win. But non organizing-based ground games are worse than useless as they artificially inflate your expectations, demoralize volunteers (they want to talk to voters, not recruit more volunteers), and fail to turn out your base.”