5 Biggest Takeaways from RNC’s ‘2016 Principles’

This week, the RNC released a 22-page document written by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich detailing lessons learned from the past three elections, including best practices and success stories. Smart campaigns learn from previous campaigns, and this documents puts the most important lessons from the past several years in one place for you to digest. While the entire document can and should be utilized by campaigns, here’s a list of the TargetPoint team’s five biggest takeaways:

  1. President Obama’s legacy is the destruction of the Democratic bench. Since Obama’s election in 2008, Republicans have gained control of the House and the Senate, 9 governors, 10 lieutenant governors, 9 attorneys general, and an astonishing 890 state legislative seats. Republicans now control 69 state legislative chambers and have complete control (both legislative chambers and the governor) in 30 states. The Republican Party is the now the majority party at every level except the presidency. This is an extraordinary shift in only eight years’ time. The GOP has proven that common sense, conservative solutions are what voters want, and through adept campaigns we’ve delivered.
  1. The RNC has invested the resources necessary to “[usher] in a revolution coupling predictive modeling with voter contact and campaign targeting” with the RNC-TPC Voter Scores. At TargetPoint, we’ve worked with the RNC and Causeway Solutions to develop this system, which gives every Republican candidate and committee in the country access to baseline scores on every voter, which can then be utilized in countless ways. Large, sophisticated campaigns can integrate these scores into their own data operations and even incorporate them into further predictive analysis. Smaller campaigns that don’t have the budget to invest in full modeling projects on their own can use these scores for predictions, targeting, and more. Every Republican campaign in the country – from presidential to city council, and all the seats in between – have access to this invaluable resource, which will only continue to improve as the RNC continues to invest in this critical program.
  1. Campaigns can and should utilize technology to use their money more efficiently and effectively. Each media market was not created with district, or even state, boundaries in mind. Historically, Congressional campaigns have wasted an enormous amount of money buying ads that are seen in large part by people who can’t vote for the candidate. They also haven’t taken into account programs that get them more for their money. The ability to deliver ads individually will solve the problem in the future, but individually deliverable set-top boxes are not yet widely available. There are still ways to make ad buys more efficient. Companies like Deep Root Analytics are using data – particularly observed media consumption data – to overhaul how Republican campaigns create better targeted, more efficient ad buys. For more information about the work Deep Root Analytics is doing to maximize the impact of campaigns’ ad buys, check out their website and follow them on Twitter.
  1. Modern campaigns require major investment in digital and data teams upfront, but the results will pay dividends. Long before campaigns are up on the air with television ad buys, they should invest in comprehensive data programs that can be used to aide and inform everything else they do – from fundraising to messaging to voter contact. Having the infrastructure to support dynamic decision making is critical, and utilizing data from start to finish can only enhance your efforts.
  1. “Polling and data don’t compete with each other; they complement each other.” Campaigns function best when their data and polling teams are coordinating with each other. Traditional polling is an effective strategic tool, helping campaigns with message testing and tracking candidate support. At TargetPoint, we pride ourselves in having the ability to handle both polling and analytic needs for a campaign, but we can also work with other pollsters – and have done so successfully for many campaigns in the past. Data operations can be used to inform polling and vice versa.


By Kaylin Bugos


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