With an election day falling somewhere during April 2019, the Alberta Party team in Canada were switched on to what work would need to be done early on in order to see an increase in vote share for their next election.
Seeking out help in the shape of consultancy RA2, who specialize in campaign tech, data strategy, and analytics, the RA2 team worked to create a data-driven strategy for the coming election.
Looking at the way that campaigning has changed in the US in the last couple of years, one thing has remained steadfast, get people knocking on doors early and track the learnings.
The team from RA2 came on board in March 2018 and worked with the Party to update their political campaign management technology. Through trialling a number of platforms, they eventually settled on Ecanvasser & NationBuilder.
With a potential roster of up to 87 candidates running for election in 2019, early on-boarding was essential, especially in the case of candidates who had never used campaign technology before.
The more experienced candidates were on-boarded in late August 2018, with more than 15 up and running fully before Christmas.
A total of 60 candidates were on-boarded to the Ecanvasser system when election day came around in April 2019.
Early on, the Alberta Party team took a data-centric approach to the 2019 election in an effort to gain an advantage over the more established parties. Thanks to the early on-boarding of the seasoned candidates before Christmas, onboarding of first-time candidates was easier.
Door knocking is still not the top form of voter outreach among many Canadian campaigners so it was particularly important that the party found a system that was trouble-free to use. The Ecanvasser mobile canvassing app Walk was the perfect solution in this context. A very clear and systematic way to record information at the door was all these candidates needed. Soon traditional pen and paper canvassing were replaced with the Ecanvasser app almost seamlessly.
Believing the hype around door to door outreach
What’s the biggest obstacle in getting a field tech operation off the ground?
“Probably just convincing people to get active and get out there”
The size of the voting district in Alberta was the perfect area for candidates who were new to a full tech roll-out to fully get to grips with the modern field campaigning. Being able to have a conversation and sync any information back to HQ in real time was another perk that the candidates would not have experienced before through traditional pen and paper canvassing.
Any lack of field campaign experience was quickly eradicated when people began to see how user-friendly the devices were. Any previous ill feelings about moving towards a digital way of organizing were abandoned when volunteers saw how much more efficient they were being.
The technical set-up
Many candidates were working with limited size door knocking teams of under 10. With districts of around 30,000 registered voters to cover, many teams knocked between 6,000 - 12,000 doors, which was impressive, especially, given how small the teams were.
The Alberta Party, who are a growing political party in Canada, found they could achieve a lot even with limited resource thanks to the Ecanvasser platform.
A centralized database allowed them to conduct constant polling and carry out surveys across all their candidate's campaigns. One such custom survey allowed them to determine the support level for each candidate within their specific districts polls. Feeding the data they collected from canvassing into a predictive indicator model, the team at RA2 were able to instruct each individual candidate how best they were polling at the doors and where they could improve.
It was this level of in-depth analysis combined with an incredible canvassing effort which saw the Alberta party go from 1.4% of the vote share to 9% in 2019.
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