More often than not, campaigns, whether electing a candidate or branding a corporation, are about understanding and building a broader image and perception than they are about specific issues. Issues, rather, are the elements used to frame and inform the image and perceptions that we need to drive.
Our approach is that of thematic pollsters, believing that each data set tells a complex, often interwoven story and as pollsters it is our job to understand that story and define the clearest and most salient route for our clients to achieve their objectives. Read More
In order to assist our clients in the Inner Mountain West, Myers Research | Strategic Services conducted a series of 17 focus groups and four statewide surveys in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico in 2008. This research, conducted with both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking Hispanics, is the most comprehensive project conducted among Hispanic voters in the West to date, and not only assisted Barack Obama and those independent organizations making expenditures on his behalf but also those candidates down the ballot as well.
First and foremost, the importance of preserving Hispanic culture and language and pride in being an American emerged as the two most salient descriptions in how Hispanics in the West describe themselves and their family. Stark differences in the intensity of these notions presented themselves among multigenerational Hispanic Americans and newer Hispanic Americans, and this understanding, largely an age divide, was critical to communications and targeting among Hispanic voters in the West.
More specifically, Hispanic voters in the West expressed a strong sense that commitment to family, education as the best way to get ahead, and taking care of their elders were top descriptors of them and their family. As a result, it was critical for the Obama campaign and its allies to communicate his personal story. His being raised by his mother and grandmother, his commitment to his wife and children, and his belief in education – were all key elements of this story and were certainly utilized in paid communications on his behalf.
Additionally, our research discovered that even before the financial meltdown in the Fall, economic concerns emerged as top-of-mind for all Hispanics and generally dominated the issues terrain throughout the region, and pushed many social issues to the side. Broadly, Hispanic voters felt an economic squeeze, just like many other audiences, not only in the West but across the country. Nonetheless, our research discovered a more nuanced trend – the salience of the war in Iraq was astounding among these voters and correlated to ballot behavior in all four of these states. Hispanic voters focused on the costs of the war - $2 billion a week – as well as the fact that many of them were struggling financially. As a result, linking the war to its economic costs was a key element in the contrast Obama drew with McCain among Hispanics, and in the swing states of New Mexico and Nevada, Obama was able to outperform John Kerry by roughly +30 points on net among Hispanic voters.