Targeting and Voter Contact: Targeting

Targeting is the process of determining in detail which voters you will spend the vast majority of your time and resources to contact. The importance of voter targeting cannot be overstated. It allows you to take a large district and break it down into a manageable and affordable universe of potential votes.

Step 1: Determine Your Vote Goal

You need to know how many votes you need to win. To estimate the total expected vote, multiply the turnout percentage from the last election by the number of currently registered voters in your district:

(recent turnout %) x (registration) = Total Expected Vote

Next, determine the vote goal of a two person race by dividing your total expected vote by two and add one:

(total expected vote) / 2 + 1 = VOTE GOAL

Step 2: Identify Where You Will Go to Find Those Votes

There are three categories of voters. Your Base are the most likely to support you and vote on Election Day. You will need to persuade Swing voters with your message. Do not waste any time or resources on your Opponent's Base. To determine who's who, you will need access to a voter file which is a record of registered voters in your district and includes their party affiliation and voting history. The state party will be able to tell you how and where the voter file can be obtained - get it as early as possible! Once you have it, make educated assumptions about which voters fall into each category.

Step 3: Evaluate the Data on Your District

To do this, you will need to obtain data from the National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC). The state party or caucus can help you obtain this information. NCEC data provides detailed and reliable analysis of past election results, revealing: the turnout percentage, expected vote, percentage and number of persuadable voters, Democratic performance, and average Democratic vote for each individual precinct. This information will inform your voter contact program and ensure that you are spending the most time in those precincts with the highest percentage of persuadable voters.

Using this information you will be able to calculate the Democratic Vote per precinct. To do this:

Multiply expected vote by the precinct's Democratic Performance (average percentage of votes a Democratic candidate can be expected to receive in that precinct)

(Expected Vote) x (Democratic Performance) = Democratic Vote

Calculate this figure for every precinct and add them together. If this number is less than your vote goal, the difference tells you the number of votes you will need to make up in order to win.

Step 4: Determine How and Where You Will Find the Additional Votes

There are two main ways to find the additional votes you need to win.

First, increase Democratic performance. You can do this by persuading Republicans and Independents to vote for you with the use of targeted voter contact/earned and paid media. You can also reach out to persuadable voters in high Democratic performing precincts.

Second, you can increase voter turnout. Using your resources wisely to increase turnout, is an easier task than persuading Republicans to vote for you. To increase voter turnout you will need to identify and prioritize precincts with a high Democratic performance and a low turnout percentage. Once you have these precincts identified, register new voters there and put a heavy GOTV emphasis on infrequent voting Democrats and newly registered voters in the area.