Targeted Voter Contact

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Master's July 2001

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"Targeted Voter Contact" In the field of elective politics, several factors come into play when a candidate is attempting to run for public office. Some of these factors may be the mood of the electorate, current economic conditions, a period of real or perceived national crisis, a referendum on the incumbent or challenger, or even a decision on who has the most attractive advertising (Mitchell 1992, 53). However, in any of these scenarios, the total electorate is only a small percentage of the population at hand. A true assessment of who can vote, who is able to vote, and who wishes to vote can be derived by a logical use of actual voter figures and information. In contacting the distilled remainder, a potential elected official will be able to achieve a less elusive margin of victory than the simple and recognized formula of 50% + 1.

The focus of such research assessment is known as targeting and it can assist, if done properly, in specific messages delivered in the most receptive manner, to the correct population.

This type of voter contact is at the core of good campaigning. Few political campaigns have the ability, in terms of its key elements, to contact every person in a specific district or state. The four key elements include: time, people, money, and talent (Allen 1996, 16). Indeed, even if it were possible to contact every person, such contact would not be wise, as census figures reflect the total number of inhabitants (as close as possible given respondent acknowledgement), including illegal aliens, felons, convicted felons without restored civil rights, children under the age of 18, resident aliens, and all those not considered citizens under the United States and various state constitutions. In addition, of those eligible to vote, a full 40% or more (Allen...