Using Telephone Town Halls to Make the Message Resonate with Voters

March 12, 2015

Background: Just two years prior to the 2010 election, a freshman Blue Dog Democrat defeated his Republican opponent in a tight race, winning by only 0.62 percent. In 2012, he faced anti-incumbency and anti-Democratic woes in an R+16 district. 


This Blue Dog Democrat needed an effective way to strengthen his candidacy with swing voters in his district.


The Solution:  We maximized the Congressman’s franking budget to reach out to swing voters before blackout dates, using a dozen telephone town halls over 13 months in this R+16 CD to repeatedly demonstrate his independence and to improve favorability ratings among GOP voters.  These telephone town halls were so frequent that voters in the wiregrass region began to look forward to their monthly “chat” with their Congressman.


The Result:  The Congressman’s internal polling confirmed huge differences between the mindset of independent voters who had joined a telephone town hall to hear his version of events in Washington and those who did not. Telephone town hall participants were 16 percent more likely to agree that the Congressman was an “independent voice” and 17 percent more likely to agree that he "shared my values." They gave him an 8 percent higher favorability rating and a 12 percent higher re-elect number. 


He lost a very close race, running 14 points ahead of the Democratic brand and demonstrating how one can take early, repeated steps to vaccinate him- or herself against vicious partisan attacks.


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