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2013-09-23 The Science of Election Campaigns.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2211E
Adam Harmes

The Science of Election Campaigns September 23, 2013 -TheAdjustment Bureau -Matt Damon plays a candidate -he explains how everything from how he dresses to the way he talks matters -e.g. what kind of shoes he should wear, what colour of ties he should wear, etc. -there is science to elections -learn about campaign techniques, demographic targeting, marketing, etc. -Master’s in political management (try to influence elite thinkers, public opinion) -there are consultants/specialists for these stuff (what music they use, what suits candidates wear, what ties they wear, what shoes they wear) How these techniques are being imported from marketing and business world to elections Today’s Topics 1. Basics of Campaign Strategy 2. Key Components of an Election Campaign -ground war Campaign Strategy Political Triage -triage: comes from emergency medicine -dividing your patients into three categories: 1. So badly hurt saving them is unlikely; 2. Those who have major life threatening injuries that have to be prioritized; 3. Those with minor injuries -Divide voters into 3 categories: 1. Your base voters -voters who will vote for you and your party no matter what -will always support that particular party 2. Opponent’s base voters -people who, no matter what you do, will not vote for you -they are on a different political spectrum -*patients who are so badly hurt that saving them is unlikely* 3. Swing voters -most important -undecided voters -you need to target them -swing voters are more likely to vote for you compared to your opponent’s base voters 1 -you target your resources much more effectively by targeting swing voters -political parties focus on swing voters Political Triage -ignore opponent’s base voters -less focus on your own base voters -most focus on swing voters -the way Canada’s political system is different from US Proportional Representation? -Canada uses first past the post rather than proportional representation -Proportional representation: Seats in Parliament allocated based on popular vote that each party receives -to form majority government: party needs over 50% of popular vote -US:Al Gore won more overall votes but still lost election -Electoral College* -US has first past the post for Presidential elections -Canada has first past the post for Parliamentary elections -First Past the Post: -most votes per riding wins the seat -we have multi-party system -party needs to just win most votes, not most popular vote -e.g. in theory, one party can have one First-Past-the-Post vs Proportional Representation 2008 Election results -Conservatives won 37.6% of popular vote but has 143 out of 308 seats (if use PR, they would won 116 seats) -Liberals: 26.2% of popular vote, translates into 77 seats (under PR, they would have 81 seats) -NDP 18.2%, translates into 37 seats (under PR, they would win 56 seats) 2011 -Conservatives won 39.6% of popular vote, won 166 seats (under PR: 122 seats) Political Triage in First-Past-the Post -2 step processes 1. ID base and swing ridings rather than base and swing voters -decide whether the riding matters 2 -waste of resources if you put money in ridings that are 80% base or opponent voters -Canadian swing voters: immigrants, suburbs, 905 area, new Canadians -key swing states in U.S.: Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, North Carolina -2. Once you identify your swing ridings, you ID base and swing voters in swing ridings -most elections, it’s not just swing voters, it’s swing voters in swing ridings Demographic Profiling -ID characteristics of voters who do or might support you -i.e. old, white, male = Conservative -married rather than single -religious than secular -businessperson rather than arsy types -own guns -live in rural areas than urban -demographic profiling in consumer world: figuring out your target market based on individual characteristics -e.g. Carlsberg beer demographic: target older white men -Labatt and Blue: target younger, 20 year olds -conducting opinion polls in swing ridings -e.g. who did you vote for in past, who do you think you are going to vote for -what’s your race, gender, income level, postal code, occupation -More information in terms of your views and characteristics: good -more of these characteristics: more likely on average you are going to vote for a certain party -can slice and dice these characteristics -women are also swing voters -if Conservatives want to target them, they would target young businesswomen who have kids who live in suburbs -talk about taxes and benefits and tone down on women’s issues (e.g. abortion, birth control, etc.) Demographic Profiling -Parties create profiles of different groups of swing voters -Tim Horton’s crowd -middle class people -focus on them rather than the hipster Starbucks crowd -905 voters -demographic targeting -data points 3 -can market you -know a little information about you and they target you -data mining: marketing company sift through data and look for correlation -Beer and Diapers correlation: discovered that many men would buy beer when they have to buy diapers – they would put beer and diaper on the same shelves -e.g. loyalty cards: they collect data (Air Miles) -companies can sell/give your information to political parties -have enough data points and know which party you will be more likely to vote for Political Marketing -Growing use of techniques from world of consumer marketing -Growth of professional political consultants -it’s becoming a business -No Place forAmateurs By Dennis W. Johnson Campaign Strategy Sales: -have a product and then sell it to all -somebody invents and gives to consultants for them to sell Marketing: -customize products to groups of consumers -divide consumers into specific groups; customize message and product itself -constant feedback between people who invent product and the consultants Political Marketing: -customize policies to groups of voters -choice of what policies are in part determined by political marketing model, not really ideology Boutique Policies -Single issue policies -Appeal to self-interest -Target specific groups of swing voters -not quite buying their vote, but it’s close -all parties are doing this -e.g. home renovation tax creditappeal to young families -a way to target those groups -e.g. child tax credit -targeting families because they have children in household -e.g. regulating lower auto insurance rates 4 -targeting 905 voters -target commuters rather than subway commuters Red Meat Policies -Policies further to right or left -very specifically designed to appeal base voters than swing voters -Appeal to party’s base voters -Motivate base to vote, donate, volunteer -e.g. Conservatives: abolish or privatize CBC -make sure your voters get out and vote -pollsters exclude 20-30 year olds -American politics very polarized because 50% ofAmericans are on one s
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