Big data wars: How technology could tip the mid-term elections

After John Kerry lost a very winnable election in 2004, Democrats were worried that Republicans had gained an almost insurmountable lead in both technology and data analysis…

Even with all of those efforts, the right is still behind in terms of technological know-how and savvy. And technologists on the right are often the first to admit this.

Ned Ryun, the CEO of Voter Gravity, which bills itself as a center-right data-driven election tech platform, noted that culture is a big part of the problem. “The biggest challenge of the center-right is not talent or technology,” Ryun said. “Our biggest weakness is a culture where important things like data and analysis are not emphasized. As a guy who’s done grassroots campaigns in past and as a tech guy, as well, this worries me.”

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Does Social Media Increase Interest in Politics Among Young Voters?

A recent study conducted by a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor, along with professors and researchers from both England and Australia, examines the potential of social media to pique the Millennial generation’s interest in politics.

Do social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube motivate young people to be more active in their community and political spheres? Surveys and focus groups were used extensively on their 18- to 29-year-old subjects to determine results.

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SPN Annual Meeting, DC TechDay & New Twitter Guide

The Voter Gravity staff is on the road again. While we spend most of our time on laptops and smartphones engaging with clients, we appreciate opportunities to meet many face-to-face. Election season is in full swing and it’s good to see conservative political candidates reaching their voters and doing great work.

Here’s a heads up on two upcoming events and one awesome resource:

Voter Gravity at State Policy Network Annual Meeting, Sept. 23-26

Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist and Voter Gravity board member Michele Weslander-Quaid and Voter Gravity CEO Ned Ryun are set to speak at the “Creating a Culture of Innovation” panel hosted by Voter Gravity at the SPN Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. Join us on Thursday, Sept. 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to hear how to create a culture of innovation and utilize the power of data and technology to lead positive change in the areas of messaging, policy advancement and fundraising. Click here for more info. Also stop by the Voter Gravity booth in the exhibit hall to say hi to Ned!

Voter Gravity at DC TechDay, Oct. 2

We’re looking forward to exhibiting with 150+ DC Startups at DC TechDay on Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the National Building Museum. DC TechDay brings together a great pool of tech enthusiasts looking to celebrate emerging venture. Attendance is free. In DC? Drop by! dctechday.com

New Download: Twitter Elections Guide

This month Twitter published a helpful 137-page guide for elected officials and candidates that details the do’s and don’ts of how to effectively use Twitter. Access it here.

5 Tips for Effective Yard Signs

Yard signs don’t vote and, let’s be honest about their role in campaigns; they are a physical sign of support when shown in people’s front yards. In lower level races where name ID for a candidate is low, they can increase name ID, but forests of yard signs in front of a polling location, or jammed into a highway median, are nothing but clutter and visual white noise for the average Joe. All that said, it is impossible to beat the economic-usefulness ratio of yard signs. They offer 24/7 advertisement of your name or issue, they are extremely low maintenance, and if designed correctly, can be used multiple elections. Below are suggestions for getting the most out of your yard signs.

1. Keep them simple and to the point.

Nobody is going to bother stopping their car to read a candidate’s sign: make sure that whatever you are advocating is in big, bold letters that anyone can read and understand. And example would be “Smith for Senate”. Make that as big as possible on whatever sign design you choose to have. Having something like “Elect: John Smith for US Senate because he’s awesome” will never fit on a sign with font big enough to read.

2. Use colors that stand out.

Avoid using “common” colors that will blend into the surrounds landscape. For example, a dark green sign with brown letters will blend into lawns and will not likely be as noticeable. Good color selection will not only use uncommon colors, but will have good contrast. Red or blue on white, yellow on dark blue, white on light green, etc. These colors will not only stand out of the average lawn, but will immediately draw attention because of the fact that they are out of place.

3. Make sure to follow all election laws.

When can you put a sign up? When does it need to come down? Do I have to give the disclaimer a certain font size? Before you order thousands of dollars of yard signs, make sure that your signs will comply with local election laws. If they don’t and someone notices (aka, your opponent) they can start a suit or have a judge forbid you from using them until they are fixed. If a discrepancy isn’t noticed until just before the election, it will be disastrous for your campaign.

4. Try to have something catchy if possible.

If you are able to find a couple words that share qualities with your name, use them. “Elect Elena” “Smith for Senate” “Vote Veronica” might be some examples. The idea is to have something that will stick in the voters mind. Remember, that’s the whole point of yard signs to begin with! If you do decide to use other language on the sign, make sure that it doesn’t too closely resemble your opponent: you want to distinguish yourself apart from them.

5. Put them in prominent places.

This is especially crucial if you have a tight budget. Having 2,000 yard signs in yards with only 30 of them along prominent street will be a waste of your time and money. Make sure that you get signs along high traffic streets whenever possible. This can be supplemented by billboards or non-standard sized signs placed on private property. Also make sure that the voter understands that, once a sign is placed, they need to make sure they stay up: if they plan to mow their yard, have a party, whatever the reason might be, respectfully request that at the end of the day they are always back out for people to see.

Yard sign are an affordable, low maintenance way to help with name ID and show support for the candidate and if used correctly, they may very well help sway the flow of the election.

Announcing our Facebook App

At its core, Voter Gravity is a tool to help campaigns build relationships with voters. Whether that’s a conversation at the front door or over the phone, the goal is to help campaigns connect to the right voters with the right message via the right medium.

Today, we’re excited to announce a new way to connect with voters: Facebook.


If you are using Voter Gravity at any level, from candidate to volunteer, you can now connect to your personal Facebook account and see which of your friends are registered voters in the district.After Voter Gravity scans and matches your Facebook friends, if you know a friend is passionate about a specific issue, or supports a certain candidate, you can tag them right there within Voter Gravity.

It’s another way that you can leverage our battle-tested platform to connect with more voters, build better relationships, and win more elections.

If you’re a current user, the Facebook portal is available right now.

Haven’t seen Voter Gravity lately? Might be time to take it for a spin.

Political Independents Grow in Number at the Expense of the GOP

Below is an excerpt from our new report, “Political Independents: Who They Are and What Impact They Have on Politics Today.” To download the full report, click here.

The number of self-described independents is increasing, and this growth is at the GOP’s expense

According to a Gallup poll released in January of 2014, the number of political independents in the United States was at a record high.[i] Specifically, the percentage of Americans who identified as independent was 42 percent, the highest percentage since Gallup began asking this question in the 1980s. Most of that growth was at the expense of Republican identification. This same series of polls estimated that only 25 percent of Americans identified as Republicans – down from 34 percent in 2004. Thirty-one percent of Americans identified as Democrats, which is down from its 2008 peak of 36 percent. The Gallup report speculated that this growth of self-described independents was due to “Americans’ record or near-record negative views of the two major U.S. parties, of Congress, and their low level of trust in government more generally.” Continue reading →