Why Campaign Polling Is Critical to Down Ballot Wins
What campaign polling can do for down-ballot races
Creating a political campaign budget is all about choices. What do I think I can raise, and what will I spend it on? One thing that more down-ballot races should consider is campaign polling. If you’re running for a citywide office, a countywide office, or any office where more than a few thousand votes determine the winner, a good poll done by a professional pollster is a wise investment. Here’s why:
- Your polling can provide you with a road map to victory. Based on the sample, your pollster should be able to tell you what your chances are, and what kind of voters you need to persuade and turnout to win. Without good polling, you’re stabbing in the dark when it comes to who to target and what message to use. Unless you’ve got gobs of money to blanket a big swath of voters, stabbing in the dark is probably a big waste of precious resources.
- Good campaign polling gauges voters’ reactions to current issues, other elected officials, and the overall feeling of going on the right or wrong track. This is invaluable. This will help craft the tone of your communications.
- Good polling tests different ways of talking about certain issues. Take, for example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When described that way, it may have tested better than calling it “Obamacare.” The same goes for “marriage equality” versus “gay marriage.” How we talk about things matters, and campaign polling will help you find the best way to communicate about important issues.
- As much as people say they hate negative campaign attacks, they work. Good campaign polling will test both good and bad attributes about you and your opponents. You want to know how badly your negatives affect you, and you want to know which negatives are the most effective to use against them.
While I’ll concede that campaign polling might not be right for every first-time candidate, I think most should consider it. It’s critical to knowing who to talk to, about what and in what way.
Do you have questions about the need for campaign polling in your down ballot race? ask them here: