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Training Tuesday: The Numbers You Need To Win Your Election - Part 1

by: SumofChange

Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 14:56:42 PM EST

( - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)

originally posted by Mitch Malasky at Sum of Change

This week's Training Tuesday post revolves around a repeated mantra from Kendra-Sue Derby, this week's trainer- It's All About The Numbers.  Before you start worrying about anything else in your campaign, you have to know how many votes you need to win.  This seems relatively self-evident, but it is a number that often goes overlooked.

SumofChange :: Training Tuesday: The Numbers You Need To Win Your Election - Part 1
You first must set YOUR WIN NUMBER, the number of voters you will need to win.  But how do you set this number and which past elections do you use as research?  To be able to make sure this number as accurate as possible, you must be able to GET THE CURRENT NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS.  The number of registered voters will change drastically from the beginning of your campaign to the end and you have to be on top of that number or risk losing all of those new voters.  Your win number isn't only number you need and it is important to know that YOUR VOTE GOAL IS NOT YOUR WIN NUMBER.  You win number is the minimum number of votes you need, but you have to determine how many votes you need to solidify a victory.  Finally, you much POST YOUR NUMBERS so that those working in your support know the goal.  If the candidate and the campaign manager are the only ones who know those numbers, then your campaign will probably struggle.





This slew of videos are from Democracy For America's Campaign Academy.  These particular session was filmed in at Gettysburg college in Gettysburg, PA.  To find out more about Democracy For America's Campaign Academy, go to

To see more training videos, go to

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The Win Number and Candidate Choice
Sometimes, I wish we would think of that win number when we look for and nominate candidates.

For instance, if the party wants to run a candidate for, say, governor, the party leaders might want to look at how to reach that win number (50%+1).

If the Democratic base includes appealing to African-American voters, young voters, and progressive voters, then the party's candidate must be able to do that. (Maybe garner as much as 30% of the necessary vote to win?) If a candidate is demonstrably uncomfortable appealing to those constituencies, that should be something that disqualifies him/her.

If the rest of a win number will be found mainly among independents and in the NOVA, Hampton Roads, and Richmond metro area, then the party's candidate should be able to convince voters who live there that he/she is the better one for their interests. Perhaps the best way to do that is to nominate someone who lives in one of those areas, or who has spent time in one of them. (i.e., Tim Kaine was once mayor of Richmond and was a known friend of the A-A community.)

Not to take the win number into account from the start of the electoral process is, perhaps, to almost guarantee a resounding loss.

Now, I'm just discussing a hypothetical here...Riiight.

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