Before 1994, election contests were usually seen as an effort to persuade voters who has not yet made up their minds about which candidate or party to support.
But starting with a congressional win for Republicans in 1994, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) advanced his theory that a more efficient use of campaign resources would be to concentrate on the heavy turnout of GOP base voters and Democrats were soon accepting the same idea.
Republicans in the U.S. House started to benefit from the turnout strategy and from catch up benefits that flowed from new winnable seats for the GOP created by re-apportionment and population shifts to blue states.
However, more recent population shifts and demographic changes have started to create new opportunities for Democrats at different levels. Political scientists who study election results now say that a Republican or a Democratic candidate already has most of the voters that will ultimately vote in their favor by Labor Day and that very few voters actually change their minds about a candidate from Labor Day to Nov. 8, regardless of advertising and performance in debates.
So most final Trump voters are already with Trump and most Hillary voters are already with Hillary and little changes because the two groups like or distrust news sources that already favor their candidate and little in the way of persuasion happens during a campaign.
It is true that there can always be a major mistake on one side or the other or some sort of late October surprise that can shift votes from one camp to another. But that has become more rare in recent years.
What do IR readers think about their neighbors now? Do you think there are many who can be persuaded to change sides or do you think most voters have their minds already made up?