Winning the Election: A Case Study

Hailey Russell

Data, Case Study, Political

March 2, 2021

Winning the Election: A Case Study

Causeway Solutions was asked to assist our client with their bid for re-election by running a data-driven campaign. The client wanted a targeted campaign to ensure they were making smart, data-driven decisions and spending wisely.

From the start, we knew what steps to take.

First, we created a vote goal by looking at historical trends and registration totals. The election would take place during a presidential election year, so the turnout would be much greater than it had been in 2014. Knowing exactly which voters to target helped maximize spending and ensure success.

The following steps laid the groundwork for the campaign. These steps helped identify who the campaign needed to talk to and the areas that needed the most focus.

Step 1: Segmented the electorate. Using predictive modeling and other accessible data, each voter was placed into a bucket (referred to as a universe) based on their likelihood to lean Republican or Democrat. Based on these buckets we helped predict how a voter will vote and how likely they would be are to turnout

Step 2: Created a pathway to victory. Using the universes, we created a pathway of least resistance to carry the candidate to victory. For this candidate, we found that votes from both the Republican-leaning and some swing universes would be necessary to win.

Step 3: Prescribed treatments. Each department within the campaign was assigned universes and advised on how to handle them. This ensured the campaign was diligent and able to contact each group properly.

Step 4: Established a feedback loop. Our data made targeted voter contact programs possible across multiple platforms, including TV, digital, mail, door knocking, and phones.

Step 5: Tracked the electorate. Although the electorate was segmented and roles were assigned, we were not finished. A major part of this data-driven campaign was monitoring the electorate for changes. Understanding these changes allowed us to tailor approaches to each universe as needed.

Outcome and Results

So, what was the outcome? Each department within the campaign utilized our services. From prospective donor lists, mailing lists, and digital onboarding, the campaign ensured their movements were backed by data. The candidate won the re-election bid by a little over 110,000 votes.

At the conclusion of any event, every organization should step back and evaluate performance to learn where improvements are possible. Once the elections were over and we received election data, we began building a post-election analysis for the client. This analysis helped the client glean critical insights about who turned out, where they were most successful, and how each universe performed. Although we cannot see exactly how each voter voted, we can use the data we have to see how our client won.

Through the voter breakdown pages, we can see which universes, age groups, genders, and regions utilized each voting method. Absentee voters in this election came from Democrat-leaning universes, skewed female, and tended to be a bit older, which is no surprise. Looking at election day voters, we learned that the Republican-leaning universes took advantage of the polls with nearly 70% of election day voters registered as Republican.

Because of this, our candidate received more election day votes than their opponent in every county, allowing them to flip twelve counties they had lost in their previous race.

Ready to learn more? Contact Causeway Solutions to get started!