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Campaign strategy

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From Leadership Institute Training 7/20/13

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Campaign strategy

  1. 1. The Leadership Institute Developing Campaign Strategy
  2. 2. The Leadership Institute Campaign Strategy Thoughts “All politics is personal” Tip O’Neil “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have” Saul Alinsky
  3. 3. The Leadership Institute Thoughts "Organize the whole state, divide each county into small districts and appoint in each a subcommittee, make a perfect list of voters and ascertain with certainty for whom they will vote, and on election day see that every Whig is brought to the polls." Abraham Lincoln Illinois State Register February 21, 1840 Campaign Strategy
  4. 4. The Leadership Institute Research A thorough and complete understanding of the district, groups within the district, and how those groups behave must be developed first. Invest wisely in your initial research. Skimpy research produces flawed strategy, leading to losing campaigns. Campaign Strategy
  5. 5. The Leadership Institute Strategic Goal • Your strategy must lead to building and producing a coalition of voters large enough to give you victory on Election Day. • Tactics will be targeted at building that coalition, then delivering them to the polls. • Sound and robust logistics (operations) makes sure the tactics work. Campaign Strategy
  6. 6. The Leadership Institute Strategic Concern Candidate strengths and weaknesses: • Ability to draw volunteers. • Ability to raise money. • Public speaking ability. • Candidate’s background/story. • Support level within the party. • Ability to draw support from the community. • Pre-existing name recognition. • Pre-existing public opinion. • Incumbent, challenger, or open? Campaign Strategy
  7. 7. The Leadership Institute Strategic Concern District/Electorate Characteristics • Voter registration statistics, adjusted for turnout rates. • Performance of past candidates in the district. • Historical tendencies. • Demographic information. Campaign Strategy
  8. 8. The Leadership Institute Strategic Concern Campaign Strategy Public Policy Environment: • Current public policy issues on the minds of constituents. • Potential public policy issues of concern. • Other candidates, ballot issues that will be on the same ballot. • Likely impact of major events that will take place before the election. • Other candidates for the same office.
  9. 9. The Leadership Institute Strategic Concern – Develop Your Message Campaign Strategy Theme and Sub-Messages • Develop an overarching theme, plus sub- messages directed at specific groups • Use the Leesburg Grid • Select the medium • Values-Level • Framing
  10. 10. The Leadership Institute Messaging Themes Campaign Strategy • Unified Theme: Creates a positive image in the minds of the voters, and ties together the specific messages aimed at groups within your identified winning coalition. • Simple, positive, incorporates your vision, offers contrast. • Speaks to existing voter concerns. • Sub-messages are specific messages rooted into the theme, and directed at targeted groups.
  11. 11. The Leadership Institute Classic Points Campaign Strategy Choose 4 to 6 of these points: 1. Targeting your party’s base plus portion of independent voters, members of other parties to secure victory. Traditional strategy based on partisanship. 2. Projecting a clear difference between you and your opponent. Strategy based on a single defining difference. 3. Dividing voters along ideological lines (liberal v. conservative). 4. Championing a single, popular cause. 5. Building a diverse coalition into a single voting bloc. 6. Creating a positive image, proving your candidate is a good person. Often a necessary element. 7. Proving the opponent is a bad person, unsuitable for office. 8. Building a large volunteer organization capable of delivering significant vote numbers. 9. Overwhelming the opponent with campaign activity.
  12. 12. The Leadership Institute Strategy Statement Campaign Strategy Draft a one-page summary of your strategy, accounting for your evaluation of the strategic concerns, and your general approach to taking advantage/overcoming them.
  13. 13. The Leadership Institute Strategy Statement Campaign Strategy Hypothetical example #1: Gray Davis Re-Election Campaign 2002
  14. 14. The Leadership Institute Gray Davis GOV (CA) Campaign Strategy Gray Davis is the incumbent Democrat candidate for governor in a Democratic state which has not denied an incumbent’s quest for re-election since the 1940’s. Recognizing the governor’s low approval rating, the campaign will first shore up support among traditional Democrat constituencies. Once that has been achieved to whatever degree feasible, the campaign will attack the eventual Republican nominee on issues where the Republican differs with swing constituencies (women, suburban voters, urban voters, minorities). Given the ideological orientation of the state, the Davis campaign will draw stark ideological contrasts with the Republican, confident such contrasts will benefit Davis. As the incumbent, Davis can raise vast sums of money. We will overwhelm the Republican nominee in broadcast media. Drawing on support from organized labor, a large volunteer ground campaign will drive turnout in the final days of the election.
  15. 15. The Leadership Institute Strategic Plan Campaign Strategy • Expand on the Strategy Statement. • Outline the specific programs (tactics) that, when executed, feed into the strategy. Key elements: • Thorough explanation of strategy. • Complete outline of tactics. • Budget. • Timeline.
  16. 16. The Leadership Institute 4 more important things about elections Campaign Strategy 1. Never underestimate the intelligence of the voter, and never over estimate the interest of the voter in the election. 2. Elections are about choices and definitions. 3. Less is more. 4. Understand what is important and stay focused on what is important.
  17. 17. The Leadership Institute Always remember Campaign Strategy • Elections are about trust. To gain that trust candidates must let themselves be known and understood. • Rarely in major elections do voters vote for candidates who are unknown. On Election Day, voters vote for who they know and think they can trust. • It is not about doing everything right, you just have to do more things right than your opponent.
  18. 18. The Leadership Institute THANK YOU! The Leadership Institute 1101 North Highland Street Arlington, VA 22201 Phone: (703) 247-2000 or (800) 827-5323(LEAD) Fax: (703) 247-2001

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