Political Election Case Study
Back in 2011, the Alliance party finished in last place in the South Down constituency in Northern Ireland with a total of 864 1st preferences votes. Fast forward to 2016 and they saw this more than triple with a respectable 2,200 1st references votes. Going into the Assembly Election in March, not many gave Patrick Brown a chance of bettering his previous result. Predominantly seen as a nationalist hub in recent elections, with the SDLP and Sinn Fein both picking up 2 seats each in the election in 2016, with the final two seats split between the DUP and UUP.
Many in the Alliance party felt the tide was changing and none were more confident than Brown himself. 2017 was a different playing field, reduced to 5 seats, the constituency which takes in large parts of Newry, Mourne and Down district council as well as parts of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District council, a larger focus was now placed on pushing people out to vote. Finishing with a grand total of 4,535 1st preference votes this time around, just marginally short of securing the fifth seat, Brown and his team hailed the campaign as “fantastic” and many have described it as one of the stories of the election.
Now synonymous with stating that “South Down was always an Alliance constituency, they just didn’t know it yet”, Brown used the blueprint of good old fashioned canvassing with brand new tech. His youth brought a new found flair to the campaigning and his focus on social media helped spread the consistent and coherent message coming from the Alliance party.
The Brown campaign aimed to take voters off “auto-pilot” and reactivate the way they approached the polls. Building a campaign team from scratch who backed his message and delivered it to the doorstep showed that local level outreach works and secured them 9.2% of the vote share.
One thing is for certain if another assembly election is on the cards South Down and Patrick Brown will be ready for it.
Working with Ecanvasser
After the election was called in January, Patrick Brown of the Alliance Party began using Ecanvasser to better organize his campaign approach. Uploading a voter file of 73,067 citizens, Brown and his campaign team were able to segment each group into more targeted sections to engage with at the doors.
Alliance Party - South Down
Brown and his campaign team members used the Ecanvasser app on their mobile phones and tablets while out on the campaign trail. Breaking canvasser teams into small groups of between two and four, the Brown campaign canvassed nearly 6,000 homes in 6 weeks.
With a heavy focus on social media, especially Facebook, when conversing with people at the door, Brown saw lots of people further engage with him either through messaging on social media or joining the campaign team. This leveraging of the face-to-face interaction to be continued on social media was one of the hallmarks of his effort and is something that all campaigns can learn from.
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Listening to our current users, we are aware that there can be an internal struggle of team management when it comes to organizing quickly. To get people out on doors, the back and forth over Whatsapp, Messenger, and (insert other apps here) can be endless. We aim to streamline this process for you with Ecanvasser. Now organizers can commit via the Walk app (their canvassing app!) and get notified in the run-up to the event so that they don’t forget. By building it into the door knocking process life has gotten a lot easier for campaign managers.