Using Polling & Digital as a 1-2 Punch to Win a Political Campaign

Victory. It’s the euphoric threshold few will embrace, and the haunting desire that drives every competitor to push his or her limits. It’s on worldwide display right now with the 2016 Summer Olympics. In sports and politics, victory is everything.

This time during the election cycle reminds me of the early rounds in a boxing match. While victory may not be realized for some time, it’s this period that too often determines success.

A simple truth for both candidates and boxers is that personal ability can only take you so far. You may have more experience, you may be more charismatic, and you may have more resources at your disposal, but the dividing line between winning and losing isn’t drawn by ability alone. A carefully-planned, violently-executed strategy is the primary force that drives champions.

In boxing, smart fighters use the early rounds to conserve energy, study their opponents, and expose vulnerabilities. Then, seizing the opportune moment, they unleash a fatal combination that preys on their opponent’s weaknesses. It’s time your campaign starts using the same strategy.

Here’s how your campaign can combine survey research and digital advertising as a 1-2 punch to win:

1) Know Where You Stand

The first step in developing a winning strategy requires knowing where you stand today. Much like smart boxers study their opponents in early rounds of a match, now is the time to determine both your strengths and weaknesses and that of your opponents through reliable survey research.

You might be a seasoned political veteran, but in a volatile election year with so much at stake, forming a successful attack plan will require more than your general feeling of the electorate. Your campaign needs hard metrics testing both candidate images and issues.

As side note, ensure your survey research partner is using a reliable, up-to-date voter file; it’s the foundation to strategic engagement. And if you didn’t think you could afford polling, look for a pollster that can do hybrid phone polls.

2) Build Voter Segments

Professional survey research firms should be able to give you a lot more information than just the traditional toplines and crosstabs. Ask your research partner to create voter models that show how the results of your survey play across different voter segments. These segments can be based on anything from voting history to geography to age to ethnicity to education to estimated income levels.

Decide on your battle plan moving forward. Are you simply going to focus on activating favorable voters or do you also need to persuade swing voters too? Determine which voter segments need the most resources leading up to election day. Who are they? What are their interests? What issues are most important to them?

3) Deliver Targeted Digital Ads

The final step in your attack plan is to have a trusted digital firm recreate your targeted voter segments online using multiple data sources and tactics. Every segment is different and has its own view of your candidate and your opposition.

Make sure your digital partner doesn’t treat every segment the same. Put in the time now to get to know their unique concerns. Then use custom creative for each segment, engaging voters on the issues most important to them. Promote your candidate’s strengths, expose your opposition’s weaknesses.

Our final advice is to make sure you pace digital ad delivery. Use your creatives to walk your targeted segments through the progression of knowing, liking, and trusting your candidate. Steadily increase your digital spend over time.


Winning the final round of your campaign begins with the strategy you use today. Start by picking trusted cornermen/cornerwomen – survey research and digital firms – to help you through your fight. Trust us, you’ll want them on your side.

Next, find out where you stand through thorough survey research. Use the results to create targeted voter segments. Don’t let your poll just be a snapshot in time

Finally, deploy digital ads to walk each segment through the progression of know, like, trust. Make sure you are engaging each segment on the issues important to them.
Together, survey research and digital advertising can deliver the deadly combination that will punch your campaign to victory in November.