In late February, NRCC strategists estimated that, among those who had returned absentee ballots, Honeybadger showed Jolly trailing Democrat Alex Sink by six points. Among those who hadn’t yet voted, the system indicated that he led by 12 to 14 points. With early voting beginning March 1, and the election just 10 days later, the party was running out of time to make up the gap.
So Republicans targeted voters whom the database identified as essential to victory and the most likely to turn out. And to encourage them, they didn’t just deploy a stale message. Strategists at the NRCC and within its legally separate independent expenditure team had measured which messages were most effectively persuading voters to turn in their ballots.
In this case, they turned to a message—delivered across a variety of digital platforms and email—that focused on urging them to vote now or watch Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi move one step closer to reclaiming the speaker’s gavel.
“We had a lot of high-probability folks left, so if we were able to focus our message properly, we could create a surge, or amplify it,” Rogers said. “Once we switched to that script across the board, that’s when the surge started. That was late February.”
Really could have used this in 2012.