To get where you want to go you need a RoadMap.
The best RoadMap for a political campaign is generated by a poll or voter survey measuring the value voters place on specific issues.
Do a simple poll, identify the issues, create a RoadMap, follow the RoadMap and you should be on your way to an Election Day victory.
In March of 2015 I had a client who was an incumbent serving on a community college board in California.
He had the advantage of being an incumbent. He had good endorsements and a great list of accomplishments.
My client was a very focused, organized, and determined, He was a hardworking candidate and not afraid of asking for money or endorsements.
He had been successful in bringing more financial transparency and accountability to the college district.
My client worked hard to develop more programs to better serve the highly diverse local community and upgraded the schools curriculum to better prepare students for employment and to transfer to a four year university.
He also did everything he could to keep costs down and to make sure students are aware of the financial aide opportunities available to them.
California was once was a state where almost anybody could afford to earn a college degree.
Unfortunately, this is no longer true and the cost of earning a higher education has skyrocketed in the last 20 years. Young adults and older workers are running up huge debts to earn an education or to upgrade work skills.
My clients opponent was a former educator that had money, endorsements and was hard driven. Several polls showed my client not winning against this guy.
The voter turn out in this election was predicted to be very low. Because the district is extremely large it was going to be difficult to turn out enough new voters to make a difference.
We needed to win likely voters.
When he brought me on board the first thing we did was conduct a poll.
We measured his positives, the value of his accomplishments, and the policy issues he wanted to pursue in his second term.
We also measured his opponent’s message. It was important to know the strength of the opposing candidate’s message with the voters.
In our poll we found out my client was not doing well against the educator who was challenging him. But we also learned that my client’s accomplishments scored well with likely voters.
Many of his top priorities for the next four years ranked high with voters. It was easy to pick three leading issues. This gave us what we needed to create a winning RoadMap,
After creating the RoadMap we followed it religiously and won the election.
Because of the poll and the RoadMap, we were able to develop the message we needed to communicate to the voters to keep them in our camp.
We also knew how to bring back the ones that had left our camp.
All of my client’s mail, phone calls, emails and other voter communication followed this RoadMap.
We did not take any side roads and we ran additional polls along the way to make sure we were still on the right path.
Why did the RoadMap helped us win?
The RoadMap showed what was important to voters, and what was not.
If my client had just spoken to other board members, and academic types, he probably would have gotten a very different idea about what his campaigns’s message should be.
He would have been talking about things the voters did not care about.
You might think you know what the voters are want and you might be right, but you also run the risk of being very, very wrong.
You might care about some really important issues. But voters are concerned about THEIR issues NOT YOUR issues.
Unless your district is very small, you are not going to know enough people to have a clear idea of what voters value most.
The only real way to know voters want is to run a poll and properly cross tabulate the results.
Before you write a mail piece, a phone script, a walk script, or give a speech you better have your RoadMap in mind or you are just winging things.
And if you are winging things you are really operating in the dark.
What does the RoadMap look like?
Do not spend hours and hours developing a long campaign plan. This is a waste of time.
All you need are the results of your polling. The results should be provided by a professional pollster who should take the time to discuss those results with you, and how to use them in your campaign.
Your campaign RoadMap should be a short and simple memo describing the results of the poll.
Throughout the campaign you will refer to this memo to keep all your messaging and activity on the right path.
DO NOT fall into over-planning trap.
DO NOT spend all your time planning. Campaigns are about action and forward movement.
Once you have the polling data and cross tabs, develop your RoadMap and just start campaigning.
Keeping on the RoadMap and you will be on the road to victory.
The RoadMap is all about Keeping on Message and giving you the proper insight to win.
STAY ON MESSAGE!! Clinton does it, Obama does it, and Trump does it.
That is why their core voters always like them. They are essentially following a road map driven by polling data.
And you can do it too.
When you are running for office, do a poll to figure out what the voters want and figure out what they don’t want.
It will be one of the best investments you can make for your campaign.
Your poll will tell you what you need to create your RoadMap and then win big on Election Day.