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
When Myers Research | Strategic Services began working with Ohio House Democrats in the 2004 election cycle, they had consistently lost seats after being bounced from the majority in the devastating 1994 elections. In fact, the district map was so challenging for Democrats after the post-2000 redistricting that they held just 37 seats before the 2004 election cycle while Republicans controlled a near supermajority, 62 seats.
In 2004, helping the caucus winnow its target list to seats we knew could be picked off, Democrats gained a net 4 seats, despite full Republican control of state government and being outspent by more than five-to-one. Entering the 2006 election cycle, with Ohio’s economy lagging and outgoing Republican Governor Bob Taft involved in massive scandals, we helped Democrats seize on Republican failures and gained an astonishing 7 seats in the state House, a number that shocked House Republicans who had outspent their Democratic counterparts by 4-to-1 that election (Republicans spent $8.5 million to the House Democrats’ $2.1 million).
As the 2008 elections approached, Democrats needed to gain 5-seats to seize the majority, controlling 46 seats while Republicans held 53 seats. Unfortunately, unlike 2006, Democrats now faced scandals of their own in Ohio – a Democratic incumbent in the state House resigned in disgrace and Democratic Attorney General Marc Dann was forced to resign amidst allegations of harassment and intimidation tactics.
Despite these scandals, the economy and job losses in Ohio dominated in 2008 as a top-of-mind concern and only grew more profound as the Election inched closer. Nonetheless, while the economy and jobs dominated (as well as gas prices which were at an all-time high in the summer months), our research suggested a very different path. Specifically, our research demonstrated from district to district that that the economy did not emerge as a correlate to voter behavior. In fact, using multivariate regression analysis, we learned that the notion of “siding with middle-class families” was what was driving voter behavior in nearly every targeted district. As a result, our clients positioned themselves as the only candidates who understood the struggles that middle-class families faced, from high gas prices and the need to invest in job creation, to the affordability of higher education and worker retraining. This messaging allowed Democrats to expanded the playing field, going from 7 targeted Republican-held seats in the early Summer to 12 targeted Republican-held seats in the Fall.
On Election Night, despite being outspent, Democrats were successful, picking up a net 7 seats to take the majority in the Ohio State House (53 – 46 seats) for the first time in 14 years.