San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
Can Good Research Help Elect a Relatively Unknown Candidate?
Competitive Edge Research & Communication has developed a wide range of specialized research methodologies across public opinion & marketing research verticals. For this particular political campaign, the following approaches and tools complemented each other to provide our client a 3600 view.
Via focus group discussions, we created an outline of what an acceptable Republican looks like to non-Republicans. In addition to insights about the language of the persuadable voter, we derived useful quantitative data. We identified the iconic issues that were to frame Faulconer as “not your typical Republican.”
The major poll we conducted had specific objectives: benchmark the race, understand the dynamics of voter opinion, identify persuasive messages and messengers (on both sides) and segment the electorate for targeting purposes. The 500-person poll with 80 datapoints was designed to answer all these questions, and it did.
Our patent-pending message testing system winnowed ten promising Faulconer messages into three well-honed winners. Municipal pension & finances reform, the Neighborhood Fairness Plan and bipartisan leadership moved persuadable voters. We also learned that former Mayor Jerry Sanders still had pull, and would move the needle for Faulconer.
Dial tests were conducted to provide the campaign moment-to-moment results on ad rough cuts. There would be no guessing with the TV spots. The team learned exactly what to be concerned about in an air war – the other candidate’s on-screen charisma. The team also learned what needed tweaking in Faulconer’s ads – the taglines, among other things. From these tests, the campaign made six-figure ad buys.
The real gold in our tracking was not the horse-race, but seeing which messages were penetrating and actually working to move the electorate. We were also able to measure the positive effect earned media was having on Faulconer, thereby giving the campaign additional confidence.