At the outset of any campaign, it should have a theory of how to win the election. Unfortunately, a lot of times the decision is made just by assuming victory, which is assured because one political party is dominant. What‘s needed is an analysis of past election results and the demographics of the electorate. No matter what election is taking place, planning is essential. The only difference between a winning candidate and a losing candidate is that the winning one has a better strategy.
A campaign strategy is a pathway to victory, aided by the understanding of who will vote for the candidate and why they will do so. The strategy for a campaign depends on the locality, public mindset, methods of voter communications used and the size of the electorate. In other words, every election would need a specific strategy which is influenced by the political climate. A few goals, strategies and planning to take into account when setting up the campaign are mentioned below.
- Set goals– A campaign should have a designated goal to ensure majority votes at the ballot box. There is one method for figuring out how many votes you need to win, called Setting Your Vote Goal. To win an election, there are two things a party has to be clear of; how many registered voters are in the voting jurisdiction and how many of these registered voters are likely to vote at the election for your party. Once these questions are answered through an easily sorted voter list in excel format, the party will know if they are getting the majority of votes. During a campaign, a party has access to the most recent list of all registered voters from list vendors. They can track which registered voters are for, against, and undecided by conducting a voter identification program.
- Determine key constituencies- Polling determines which parts of your jurisdiction or demographic groups look favorably upon your measure, so you can direct mailings or advertisements to where they will be most effective. A mail house will help in sorting through the demographic information to reach your desired target audience if the party is conducting a direct mail campaign. The desired audience is easily found in a voter list in excel format. If a party does not have polling data, a grassroots effort to contact all likely voters is the best approach. So channels should be chosen with the aim of getting the most visibility possible among the local voters.
- Articulate your message- A well-crafted message requires the understanding all the aspects of a measure, and the translation of the message into a clear, simple, concise and consistent story that will be easy for the voters to remember. A compelling message always makes a big difference. A poll is proven to be extremely helpful in getting information about the concerns of various groups of voters and what messages would be most effective. Campaign money spent on voter contact should be invested first in a professionally conducted poll to understand what matters to the voters.
- A written plan and timeline- Once a strategy has been set, it is vital to come up with a written campaign plan. A campaign will always benefit from the discipline of writing down the details and timeline for the implementation of its strategy as the process helps to think through all the aspects of the campaign and set priorities for allocating resources. Important campaign plans like budgeting and scheduling come under this. Budgeting is essential as it draws an estimate of how much the party would need to spend and from where the required funds will be provided.
- Identify voters in your favor- Unless a party has a voter list in excel format, which would help them distinguish the ‘yes’ votes and the ‘no’ votes, they should plan on conducting a voter identification or ‘Voter ID’ effort. The electorate can be segregated into three groups: the candidate’s base, the opponent’s base, and the undecided voters. An easy to know that is through the voter list in excel format because it is easily sortable. Past election results and survey research make it possible to determine which people fall into which group. Using this information, contact voters directly, asking if they plan on voting in favor of the party’s measure. Phone or door-to-door canvassing are a few ways Voter ID can be conducted.
- Get out the vote preparation- Once a party has the “yes” voters identified to meet their goal, the parties have to make sure every voter who showed interest goes out to vote. They need to plan the campaign strategy to allocate funds and workers to remind the voters to get to the polls. It is not likely to have the resources or time to identify ALL of the “yes” voters; however, any voter identification project can still be helpful and lead to success. The voter data helps the party strategize which neighborhoods and demographics to focus on for GOTV.
- Reach the people- Many campaigns have failed because the organizers presumed that a particular demographic would not in favor to their message, so they did not even bother reaching out to certain areas or demographic groups.one should always concentrate and use resources to spread their message to the largest number of people without sacrificing frequent communication with your targeted voters. Events and meetings should help attract various kinds of individuals from different communities. One should also choose which channels to use with the aim of getting the most visibility possible among the local voters.
In an election, goal setting, strategy, and planning are perhaps the three most essential things to take note of. Setting the goal will make the party have a stand and an outlook which will help them win an election. A proper strategy will let you adjust campaign goals and funds to match your progress. And proper planning will help execute everything correctly and in an appealing manner.