Campaign Corner: Should you still target during a PR election?

Welcome to a new series of posts, each of which will look to give three tips about commonly asked campaign issues. Do get in touch if you have any questions you would like to suggest.

Today’s Campaign Corner question: Should you still target during PR list elections, such as for the London Assembly or the European Parliament?

A very good question – and one that I could easily write more than three tips about! But here are three:

  1. Repetition is what persuades people to change their votes: so it is much better to campaign repeatedly over a small area than to stretch thin over a large area, as it is the former that gets the levels of repetition which starts to win votes.
  2. Each election should be a building block towards the next: winning, say, 50 new supporters in a ward that you will fight seriously at the next local elections (or constituency at the next Scottish / Welsh / Westminster elections) is more useful in the long-run than 50 new supporters in an area which won’t be fought seriously at the next election – so when choosing where to go for repetition, think ahead.
  3. Use campaign tactics which reach people in wider areas at no extra effort: whether it is effective photo stunts for the local newspaper, letter writing to the letters pages of regional newspapers or running an effective Facebook page with news from across a council area, there are many campaign steps which both support the repetition in those concentrated areas by reaching people in them and also – at no extra effort – reach people in other areas too. For example, if you get coverage in the local newspaper, that gets read not only by voters in the areas you are concentrating on but also by people elsewhere in its catchment area. These sorts of campaign tactics are gold dust.

For some further thoughts on this, see Lynne Featherstone’s five wishes for what the party should do from 2008. Those five steps have aged pretty well despite the big changes in political and organisational circumstances since then.

Yet steps one to three have died a death and though step five was something I put in place when I was working for the party (websites to cover every local party which did not have its own) that system has also largely atrophied since.

Only step four is showing some life since, both with ALDC’s improved template packs and publications such as the one from myself and Shaun Roberts.

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