Talking to voters – some people love having intimate conversations with strangers; for others, it’s not as easy. But what if we could find a group of voters who we believe are persuadable and then talk to them in a way that is convincing? That’s a recipe for persuasive canvassing success.
There’s a small group of voters who are still persuadable out there, and Swing Left Greater Boston is looking into ways to talk to these voters that are both efficient and effective. We want to use data to target either specific areas or specific voters. A concept called “hot blocks.” developed by a former social science researcher, is one way to use demographic and voter role information to target specific kinds of voters. Using techniques that allow us to home in on certain voters will make our canvassing more efficient.
And we also want to canvass effectively. Recent research has shown that traditional canvassing, where we lob facts, figures and candidate information at voters, isn’t an effective persuasion technique. But having deeper and longer conversations, where we listen to voters and get them talking about their concerns, find shared values, and share our own stories once we heard from the voter, are much more effective in changing voters’ points of view.
As Words that Win, a strategic messaging training group puts it, “It’s not about finding a way to communicate that convinces us; it’s about finding one that gets through to voters.”