Candidates whether they are individual people running in an election or political parties in general have varying degrees of support in an election at any given time. The degree of conviction that voters have for the candidates in an election is important to understand as it leads to making smart decisions about campaign strategy. The ultimate goal leading up to election-day is to have as many loyal supporters as possible.
Loyal supporters can be defined as voters who intend on voting for your candidate or party in the upcoming election and would not consider any other candidate or party. The strategy of a campaign with loyal supporters is to make sure they are identified and they get out to vote. In addition with this group, they are not only an excellent source for campaign contributions but also a source for volunteers for the campaign itself.
Supporters are constituents who intend on supporting the candidate or party but would consider voting for at least one other candidate or party. This is soft support and those voters could be persuaded to move to another candidate or party with a compelling reason. It is important to re-assure these voters they are voting the right way but also to identify these voters and make sure they get out to vote.
These voters intend on voting for someone else, however, these voters would consider your candidate or party on an exclusive basis. By exclusive meaning there are no other candidates or party they “would consider”. In other words your candidate or party is the second choice among no other choices. This group can potentially be swayed to your candidate or party and this is where the campaign must battle for their “hearts and minds”.
These voters like the group above intend on voting for someone other than your candidate or party; however, they are not only “considering” your candidate or party but also other candidates or parties. This group like the group above could be swayed to your candidate or party but they could also be swayed to other candidates or parties they are considering. The strategy as above also includes battling for their hearts and minds.
These voters intend on voting for someone else and would not even consider your candidate or party. In other words, they are loyal supporters of another candidate making it more difficult, if not impossible, to sway them to your candidate or party. The strategy with this group is to identify them, and to not waste valuable resources, to more or less ignore them.
Voter Gap Analysis
The voter gap analysis is intended to quantify the size of these various groups. Consider it a support funnel with the goal of moving voters from not considering your candidate or party down the funnel all the way to loyal supporters. Out of the entire population of voters what is your candidates share among these various groups along with the share of other candidates. Knowing this will provide an assessment of the probability of success but also the “Pathway to Victory” and the share of resources that should be devoted to each strategy.