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
Colorado House Democrats entered the 2004 election cycle net 11 seats away from the majority (27 Democrats, 38 Republicans) and not a single person in the country believed that Democrats had a shot at taking control of the State House. Rather national money and in-state resources were largely focused on the State Senate where Democrats trailed Republicans by just one seat.
We polled in 17 districts for House Democrats, of which we targeted sixteen, and across each survey we learned that voters’ top priorities were the economy / jobs, education and health care—nearly always in that order. Without regression analysis it is likely that we would have focused our communications ion the first two issues, the economy / jobs and education, as did nearly every other campaign throughout the state.
However, our research demonstrated that while the economy / jobs and education were important debates, they did not correlate to voting behavior. Rather, using multivariate regression analysis we learned that from district to district health care proved highly correlated to voting behavior and was essentially driving the vote. Clearly health care’s correlation proved this was the critical debate for our candidates to win, and strategically it is the debate we decided to fight every one of these races on.
Nearly all of these candidates’ communications were centered on health care: we used it to define our candidates in the positive frame, from their bio to issue specific communications, and more importantly, we nearly singularly drew the contrast with our opponents on it. On Election Night, Democrats won 15 of the 16 races we targeted and delivered Democrats a 5-seat majority in the State House for the first time in 42 years (35 Democrats, 30 Republicans). National press labeled the Democrats victory in the House “the Colorado miracle.”