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Kate Heffernan MAS2019

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Presentation at the 2019 Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conference on March 29, 2019 in Cambridge, MA

Published in: Environment
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Kate Heffernan MAS2019

  1. 1. The Environmental Voter Project
  2. 2. The Importance of Environmentalists Voting 1 “ARResearch poll of likely voters in the 2016 Presidential Election, July 29 – Aug. 3, 2016 Top Issues in Determining Presidential Vote1 Voters do not prioritize environmental issues. NATIONAL SECURITY & TERRORISM THE ECONOMY & JOBS IMMIGRATION HEALTH CARE CRIME & PUBLIC SAFETY SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME INEQUALITIES BETWEEN THE RICH & POOR GUN RIGHTS & GUN CONTROL GOVERNMENT SPENDING & BUDGET DEFICIT RACE RELATIONS SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS PUBLIC EDUCATION TAXES AND TAX REFORM FOREIGN POLICY CLIMATE CHANGE & THE ENVIRONMENT REDUCING STUDENT LOAN DEBT CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM ABORTION IMPROVING THE NATION’S INFRASTRUCTURE 1% 2% 4% 4% 5% 6% 6% 7% 8% 11% 12% 12% 13% 18% 20% 33% 36% 1% 1% 4% 5% 6% 6% 6% 7% 11% 11% 12% 14% 4% 4% 4% Most important issue in determining vote Second most important
  3. 3. The Importance of Environmentalists Voting The High Cost of Low Voter Demand Campaigns Only Target Likely Voters Campaigns have limited time and money, so campaigns, PACs, and other groups usually only communicate with the people who are most likely to vote in a particular election. Politicians Only Poll Likely Voters Because campaigns and outside groups only target “likely voters,” they also only poll likely voters to see which issues they care about. As a result, likely voters’ opinions end up being far more important to politicians than the opinions of other citizens. This is Bad News for the Environment Right now, every politician knows that likely voters rank environmental issues among their lowest concerns in each and every election. If voters aren’t demanding environmental leadership, why would politicians supply it?
  4. 4. This is also a Big Opportunity 15.78 million environmentalists did not vote in 2014; we must focus on turnout instead of persuasion .
  5. 5. Voter Identification Predictive models of voters using consumer and behavioral data The Big Data and Predictive Analytics Revolution How It Works: Survey large samples (20,000+ ppl) with one or two questions to ascertain which respondents strongly prioritize environmental issues when voting Combine the survey results with the thousands of data points appended to each voter in the voter file Identify hidden patterns and correlations to develop statistical models that can be applied to all voters Out of these “environmental voters,” only target those who are not perfect voters (i.e., we cannot already depend on them to vote in each election) Build a predictive model that assigns each voter a score from 0-100 based on how likely they are to prioritize environmental issues when voting
  6. 6. Voter Mobilization CANVASSING, CALLS, TEXTS, DIGITAL & MAIL We run sophisticated GOTV campaigns with canvassers, phone-banks, text-banks, digital ads, and direct mail, all tailored with messages specifically designed to get our identified environmentalists to vote. PLEDGE FOLLOW-UPS Before each election, we follow up with people who have filled out our Environmental Voter Pledge and we remind them to vote. Multiple studies have shown that reminding someone of their pledge to vote can dramatically increase that person’s likelihood of voting. NO ENDORSEMENTS We don’t try to elect particular candidates; plenty of other groups already do that very well. We simply focus on the best ways to get environmentalists to become consistent voters – we’re like a big data version of Rock the Vote, but for environmentalists.
  7. 7. Questions?

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