Cygnal releases new methodology to capture even the smallest of movements in your race

Daily trackers need to collect a lot of samples, but the traditional rolling approach does not provide the ability to see a representative sample of small subgroups or drill down with nuance. Cygnal’s new Momentum methodology runs a 3-day rotating set of polls where each poll is a different demographic subgroup. We apply data science to the differences between the current poll and the one from three days ago, and then apply a portion of that change to similar demographic groups in the other polls. For instance, a shift with Hispanic Evangelicals will show up as a smaller modeled shift with White Evangelicals, and each subgroup movement will inform another. The more similar a group is to another group, the more that shift from three days ago will affect the sample from yesterday or the day before. 

During the last two weeks of the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election, we tested this methodology, and the chart below shows the results of Cygnal Momentum in orange and a traditional three-day rolling average for tracking in blue. Cygnal Momentum nailed the race, predicting Youngkin +2.0%, and the final ended up being Youngkin +1.9%. It also caught the turnout surge at the end, shifting up from 2.7 million earlier to about 3.1 million at the end (the real turnout was 3.26 million), modeled off asking people whether they were planning to vote and by what method. This shows the importance of tracking right up until the end of the campaign and setting your campaign up earlier to capture and act on trends. 

The surge at the end was picked up by this methodology because of late breaking votes to Youngkin, and you can see that the tracker had it close or him losing for most of the election. Cygnal Momentum caught the shift among women from similar cycles to future Governor Youngkin in the last few days in a way that didn’t show up using the traditional method.  

The chart below shows the toplines each day by gender for Cygnal Momentum against a three-day rolling average. Cygnal Momentum showed more movement overall and when compared to the 2021 exit polling, it was way more accurate among both men and women. Cygnal Momentum gives you more accurate and actionable insights daily. 

Because this methodology lets Cygnal capture more of each subgroup since it is a large poll with three times the n modeled that day than a normal tracking poll, we can dive down into the subgroups better. As a test, we used our District and Issue Tracking methodology to model a region, which in this case, the VA Beach City region. This area was likely the deciding factor in the gubernatorial race, because it moved from Biden +5 to Youngkin +8, more than Northern Virginia, and contains a lot more voters than the rural areas. Youngkin won by 8.2% and the topline comparison below shows that the Cygnal Momentum line was closer. With this tool, we caught Youngkin’s strength earlier, as well as the dip before that needed correction, which was mostly Independent women, where we saw the change before. 

Overall, Cygnal Momentum is the best partner for your campaign where you want to see the movement  at the highest and lowest levels. We can adapt the polling to model any smaller geography such as media market, region, county, or cities. 

Click here to learn more about Cygnal Momentum!