From David Axelrod and Karl Rove's MasterClass

Understanding the Electorate and Targeting Voters

Karl teaches you how to determine which parts of the electorate your campaign should target and how to go about it, while David shares his advice on the importance of addressing what constituents care about most.

Topics include: Know the Issues in the Community • Look at Historical Data • The Difference Between Persuasion and Mobilization • The Value of Microtargeting • Understand How the District Is Drawn

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Karl teaches you how to determine which parts of the electorate your campaign should target and how to go about it, while David shares his advice on the importance of addressing what constituents care about most.

Topics include: Know the Issues in the Community • Look at Historical Data • The Difference Between Persuasion and Mobilization • The Value of Microtargeting • Understand How the District Is Drawn

David Axelrod and Karl Rove

Teach Campaign Strategy and Messaging

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Preview

Elections don't take place in a vacuum. There is a political landscape that exists in the election. That landscape changes every two years. It's constantly changing. It varies even in places where you think it's sort of like stable. This is a Democrat state or a Republican state. Things are changing. And you need to look at what's happening. Part of it will be seen in voting patterns. Either one party's making some-- is progressing slightly or falling slightly. You look at it in demographics. And you look at it in the terms of the current range of issues that are out there for the election itself. What are people concerned about? There will be an overall mood. Do people think the country is going in the right direction? They could think the country is going in the wrong direction. Are they fearful? Are they optimistic? Is the economy doing well? Is the economy doing badly? Is there some external event that is dominating the public discussion? The war in Iraq, or the collapse of the big banks. So every election takes place in an environment that has subtle characteristics like changes in demography and voting patterns, and big, visible characteristics like major events. And as you think about the campaign, you've got to figure out how that's going to impact your candidate. But all these things need to be discussed and reviewed, and conclusions arrived at as you begin to plan what you think your message ought to be in the campaign. - It is really, really important for you to understand what is important in your community. What are the most salient issues in your community at this particular moment? I did a race for Nevada's Supreme Court in 1992. And our candidate, a woman named Miriam Shearing, was running. And the biggest issue in Nevada at that time was a Yucca Mountain, a proposed nuclear repository for the nation in Yucca Mountain, which meant that all nuclear waste would be shipped to Yucca Mountain in Nevada and stored there. This was, as you can imagine, wildly unpopular in Nevada. Now, the likelihood that that was going to be an issue before the Nevada Supreme Court was rather low. It was really a federal issue. There were all kinds of regulatory agencies that oversaw this. The Congress oversaw this. The president oversaw this. But it wasn't impossible that some aspect of it would come before the Nevada Supreme Court. And our opponent was very tied to corporate interests who would favor such a move. So we did an ad about Yucca Mountain and talked about the need for having a justice who was independent enough to rule in the interests of Nevadans. It was kind of out of left field. It probably won us the race, because we understood what was most salient to voters. So really try and understand the issues that are of greatest concern to the voters who are going to make the difference in your particular venue. - When I start a campaign, when I start planning, I'm sort of old fas...

What it takes to win elections

David Axelrod and Karl Rove reach across the aisle to offer an inside look at winning campaign strategies. The respective architects of Barack Obama’s and George W. Bush’s historic election victories teach how to develop a campaign platform and reach an audience with consistent messaging. Find the inspiration and tools to get involved at any level, or simply become a more informed, engaged citizen.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I am a political junkie. Even with my daily consumption of news and politics, this was great. I have a greater respect for both Rove and Axlerod.

It has cleaned my lens of campaigns and made the activities practical.

Almost perfect! The ONLY thing I wished for more of was information on the electoral process and how to impact that process as a voter.

This is a fantastic and inspiring course! I recommend it to everyone! Especially those who are apathetic about politics (usually because they don't know how it works)

Comments

Michael O.

Micro targeting is done by every corporation these days. Realpolitik. Invasion of privacy is the norm. And that of course justifies using it in politics. Micro-targeting = Big Brother. Scary?

Ron H.

One thing that I may have missed here is that it is very, very important in every single campaign to know your win number.

Mia S.

A: "It is really, really important for you to understand what is important in your community, what are the most salient issues in your community at this particular moment? I did a race for Nevada's Supreme Court in 1992, and our candidate - a woman named Miriam Shearing - was running and the biggest issue in Nevada at that time was a Yucca Mountain - a proposed nuclear repository for the nation, which meant that all nuclear waste would be shipped to Yucca in Nevada and stored there. This was, as you can imagine, wildly unpopular in Nevada. Now, the likelihood that that was going to be an issue before the Nevada Supreme Court was rather low; it was really a federal issue. There were all kinds of regulatory agencies that oversaw this, the Congress oversaw this, the president oversaw this, but it wasn't impossible that some aspect of it would come before the Nevada Supreme Court. And our opponent was very tied to corporate interests who would favor such a move. So we did an ad about Yucca Mountain and talked about the need for having a justice who was independent enough to rule in the interests of Nevadans. It was kind of out of left field, probably won us the race, because we understood what was most salient to voters. So really try and understand the issues that are of greatest concern to the voters who are going to make the difference in your particular venue."

Mia S.

R: "Elections don't take place in a vacuum. There is a political landscape that exists in the election. That landscape changes every two years; it's constantly changing. It varies even in places where you think it's sort of like, stable - 'this is a Democrat state or a Republican state.' Things are changing. And you need to look at what's happening. Part of it will be seen in voting patterns - either one party's making some... is progressing slightly or falling slightly. You look at it in demographics, and you look at it in the terms of the current range of issues that are out there for the election itself. What are people concerned about? There'll be an overall mood. Do people think the country is going in the right direction? They could think the country is going in the wrong direction. Are they fearful? Are they optimistic? Is the economy doing well, badly? Is there some external event that is dominating the public discussion? The war in Iraq, or the collapse of the big banks. Every election takes place in an environment that has subtle characteristics, like changes in demography and voting patterns, and big, visible characteristics like major events. And as you think about the campaign, you've got to figure out how that's going to impact your candidate. But all these things need to be discussed and reviewed, and conclusions arrived at as you begin to plan what you think your message ought to be in the campaign."

Marko S.

I live in a congressional district that has a an old nuclear power plant. Now it just stores a bunch of spent nuclear fuel rods a lot of people in the community want sent to Yucca.

Sue B.

Target marketing is done by everyone these days. The regular guy on the street has no idea how much data is gathered about his preferences. It is amazing how much is available. If you do research you might want to consider using multiple search engines too. You may be surprised at the different results you get. Sometimes people are paid to do specific searches to skew the results. This can happen in retail marketing but also in politics.

Nick B.

At Effct.org, we obtained data from our partners about three sets of Denver voters: 1. Those who were 0-34% likely to support education measures 2. People 35%-69% likely to support 3. People 70% and up likely to support. We focused mostly on the latter two and ended up winning by 4 points. We could have focused a bit on audience one and micro-targeted those who are interested in education on Facebook. Might have increased the margin.

Woodrow

The Yucca Mountain issue honestly will never die. I live in Nevada. We're still talking about it!

Isaiah P.

I've seen first hand some outstanding candidates run in races where the districts were just not in favor. Analyzing before hand whether or you could even win at maximum performance is a critical move.

Juan Y.

I am a big fan of data-driven campaigns, but like Karl said, sometimes campaigns get "too cute".