Candidates & Campaigns
Every political campaign consists of three essential ingredients: a candidate,
an organization and money. To be successful, a campaign must generally
have a good candidate, an adequate organization and sufficient resources
to make the campaign go. If a campaign is seriously lacking in any one
of these three areas, it is in trouble (unless, of course, the opposing
campaign is even worse off). Given the choice of a first-rate organization,
ample monetary resources or a superb candidate, almost every campaign professional
would take the superb candidate. Skilled, effective, attractive candidates
can usually raise all the money they need and organizations can be built
around them. Making a good candidate out of an ordinary one, however, is
difficult to do even with unlimited resources.
communication with likely voters
If winning is the ultimate goal of a political campaign, the most
important instrumental goal is repetitive, persuasive communication with
likely voters. A political campaign is like a commercial advertising campaign
in many ways. The candidate is the product being "sold," voters
are the customers, but instead of their money, a campaign tries to secure
their vote. To secure a voter's support, a campaign must communicate a favorable
message about its candidate to voters clearly and often enough that the
voter becomes committed to the candidate and compelled to vote for him
or her on election day.
While every campaign will necessarily emphasize different issues or candidate
traits in its campaign communications, every campaign has (or should have)
five distinct communications objectives.
- Establishing voter familiarity with the candidate's name.
associating the candidate's name with the office for which he or she
- Strategically conveying positive information about key
candidate attributes, such as leadership ability, trustworthiness and
- Favorably distinguish the candidate from his or
- Motivating supportive voters to get out and vote on election day.