Target the right voters and you have a better chance of winning your election.
The best place to start is figuring out who the high prosperity voters are and do your best to figure out where they stand in your election.
Start with this target group and then drill down.
The first target or group of voters should always be the high propensity voter or frequent voter.
Ignore these voters at your own peril. High propensity voters are always there, they always vote, and frankly, they are the ones that decide the majority of elections in America.
Sending your winning message, even in a glossy mailer, to people that never vote is a waste of time, money, and resources.
Missing this target is the biggest mistake you can make in your election.
There are five categorizes of high propensity voters that you must target. Your first goal in running for office is to figure out who these people are what group they fall into and then act accordingly.
Target 1: Your High Propensity Voters.
Knowing who is a high propensity voter that will support you on Election Day no matter what is the first step.
Never forget about these voters, but don’t spend a lot of time trying to persuade them.
They are already on your side and just need to know you still want their support.
Don’t preach to the choir here. I have witnessed many candidates spend all their time only talking to their true supporters.
For sure you need to maintain a dialogue to with your supporters.
The last thing you want is for them to think you don’t care any more.
The majority of effort, if there is enough undecided voters to change the outcome of the election, should be spent persuading those that are not committed to vote for you.
Target 2: Your Opponents High Propensity Voters.
The opponents solid supporters that always vote. Forget about these people.
In a partisan race these voters are the hard core party members.
In a local non partisan race they are often the people that actually know your opponent or know you or have some strong tie, like employment, organization involvement, or what ever to your opponent.
You are never going to change there minds and trying to do so is a wast of time, money and resources. They are definitely going to vote but not for you.
Target 3: Your Soft High Propensity Voters.
Your supporters that are high propensity voters but are persuadable. Worry about these folks. They can change on a dime.
It is imperative that you keep tabs on these voters through polling and proper voter identification and make sure they are not changing their minds.
Reach these voters early and give them a reason to stay on board. You don’t want to wake up on Wednesday morning and find they went to the other side. Did you hear about this?
Not having a good voter identification program will kill your campaign.
Being way to enthusiastic about any one that says they support your campaign and putting them in the “Yes” category is a huge problem for inexperienced candidate and campaign workers..
Always be cautious when recording who is a supporter and who is not. Make sure your records are solid.
Some voters just want to be nice and not say “no” to anyone.
What voters do in the ballot booth or the privacy of their home when completing their mail-in ballot will be a different story.
Pay close attention to gender and ethnic clues.
An Asian woman candidate being told by an Asian woman voter that they are voting for them is probably a solid supporter, but not always.
Even in non partisan races party affiliation can make a difference.
Are Republican voters really going to support a tax and spend liberal? They might depending on the issue of the day and your track record.
What is really helpful is to obtain secondary commitment from voters.
A secondary commitment is best done with a yard sign. If someone takes a yard sign, that is a good sign, that hey are being honest about supporting you.
And when it comes to signs, if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, click here to get our free ebook: 5 Secrets of Winning Campaign Signs.
Asking a supporter if you can list their name publicly, like on your website, or if they will complete an endorsement card (see article on Business Reply Cards (BRC)) is a great way to ensure that a supporter is in fact a supporter.
Also, getting these voters to like you on Facebook or subscribe through your website is always a good way to ensure that they are solid supporter.
These efforts can be expensive but that is why you need to start fundraising early. Without the funds you will not be able to run any of these programs and will be leaving your election up to chance.
Target 4: Your Opponents Soft High Propensity Voters.
Your opponent will have high propensity voters that you can persuade to support you.
Run a proper voter identification program coupled with polling and figure out who these folks are.
This is harder to do in a partisan race were partisan voters often tend to come home when all is said and done.
But it is not impossible and becomes more possible when you have partisan districts that closer in registration.
Other factors can influence partisan switching such as significant local issues or the top of the ticket.
A strong or week presidential, gubernatorial or senate candidate can either motivate their party base to turn out or just as easily suppress that base. This will definitely effect down ticket races.
Non partisan and the further down the ticket you get – judge, water board, etc. will be less afected by partisanship.
But know what is going on in your district, state, and overall election cycle. This will give you clues on cutting into your opponents base.
Give these voter a reason to jump ship. Work them hard. Sell them early and close the deal by election day. You win by cutting into your opponents base.
Target 5: Undecided High Propensity Voters.
These voters are up for grabs. The true undecided high propensity voter is always going to vote but you just don’t know for who.
The world of undecided voters is where much of the serious campaigning takes place.
In non partisan and down ticket races these voters are king. In a swing partisan district or state, think Ohio, these voters write the future.
Undecided voters are motivated by issues. A week or untrustworthy candidate can push them to one side or another in A New York Minute.
Most campaigns spend a lot of time persuading undecided voters to go to vote for them.
A strong voter identification and polling operation will tell you how many people are undecided. You need to know if there are enough to make a difference in the outcome of the election or not.
Accurate voter identification is key to knowing who they are and Polling is essential to know what motivates them.
Spend the money on a reputable pollster and figure out what these voters want.
Campaigning to the undecided voter will burn up a lot of money, time and resources. It will be by far the most expensive and labor intensive aspect of your campaign.
But if there are enough undecided voters and you can give them what you want they will get you over the finish line.
Many campaigns will ignore these voters because of the effort it takes to persuade them.
A final word on developing your voter Target.
There is NO Replacement for a strong voter identification and polling program.
Make sure if your voter identification program is a paid one that you are using a reputable vendor.
You can not really develop a voter target with out these voter identification and polling.
Get to work early with Back of the Envelope Fundraising so you can successfully develop these programs.
Fundraising in not easy so you will half to develop the right mind set to be successful at it.
Without these programs your are guessing and leaving the outcome of your election up to chance.