PolitIQs: Telephone Town Halls Directed to the RAE (Rising American Electorate)

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Dear Friend,

Telephone town halls have proven to be a useful tool for reaching reliable middle age and older voters. Last week we documented how cost effective a weeknight telephone town hall can be when calling these targets at home—just pennies per minute of dialogue.

But what about the less engaged Rising American Electorate (RAE) voter with only a cell phone and a less predictable schedule?  Midterm elections require more focus on these under performing voters.

We offer these suggestions when targeting the RAE voters with telephone town halls:

  • Use Targeted Digital Ads to Recruit Participants. Campaigns are using banner ads, Pandora and even pre-roll ads to drive voters to a landing page where they can easily register for the telephone town hall through a drop down menu that captures their name, cell phone number and email address. Our clients often use a Facebook registration page or a Vekeo landing page as platforms for registration. These campaigns go back to the cell phones and email addresses of these “sign ups” later in the campaign for volunteer recruitment and GOTV messaging.
  • Shorten the Telephone Town Hall. RAE voters have less time, and in most cases, less patience for a deep dive into any particular campaign issue. Because most telephone town halls are priced in hour increments, some clients script their events for a thirty minute session and then repeat their messaging and Q & A sessions. They dial a new universe at the bottom of the hour and explain to the existing audience that voters are welcome to continue to listen and participate, but that the session will repeat for new listeners. Given that the average listen time for a participate is less than twenty minutes, there is very little downside to this approach.
  • Offer Spanish language Telephone Town Halls. The advances in voter file quality allow for very targeted outreach to Hispanic voters. We have found that sensitivity to language is key in generating greater participation. The “invitation to participate” calls the night before should begin in Spanish with an keypad option to convert to English. The telephone town hall moderator should begin the call in Spanish with the understanding that audience questions could come from both English and Spanish. Of course the keynote speaker and the screeners for the audience questions should be bilingual as well. 

Over the last six years our team has managed more than 240 telephone town halls for candidates seeking elected office from the Courthouse to the White House.  If you’d like more information on the lesson we've learned, just contact us here.

And as always, we invite you to join our voter research conversation on Twitter @ChismStrat.

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Chism Strategies is America’s leading direct voter contact firm. We are innovators, grounded in the best social science research, with decades of experience in the field to mobilize voters and change public opinion.


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