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Wake County GOP: Winning by 401 votes

Partnering together to achieve victory when the stakes are the highest.

the challenge

Wake County, the most populous county in North Carolina and home to the state capitol, was a pivotal battleground in the 2020 election cycle.

Wake GOP's leadership knew that the results of key statewide and local races would hinge on their ability to persuade and turn out supporters with an unprecedented ground game and precinct leader program.

Going into the final months of the cycle, their leaders knew they could no longer rely on existing infrastructure and needed to build a ground game that could accomplish five critical goals:

  • Provide every endorsed candidate with a voter contact system that would be scalable and provide real-time, actionable metrics to inform their strategy while reducing duplication of efforts.
  • Reach different universes of voters with targeted messages across every medium: at the door, by phone, over text, on social media, digital ads, mail, and TV.
  • Identify and build relationships with voters who had sporadic vote history and turn them out.
  • Preserve down-ballot support among voters who were ticket-splitters.
  • Encourage supporters to vote early or absentee in order to conserve resources ahead of Election Day.

The Solution

To make this program possible, Wake GOP evaluated a number of different options and found that i360 was the only partner that could provide a fully integrated data, technology, analytics, and advertising solution.

With the November election just months away, time was of the essence. While other vendors had proposed setup timelines spanning weeks, Wake GOP was able to access i360's full platform in less than 24 hours. Within days, Wake GOP's field program was moving full steam ahead using i360's Deep Dive as a tool to inform their targeting. Because of i360's one-stop solution, Wake GOP was able to execute a full surround-sound approach to persuading voters:

  • Region and precinct leaders utilized the Deep Dive and i360 Walkability to define their targeted voters and quickly create dynamic surveys for use in i360 Call, i360 Walk, and i360 Text. Voters who did not live in walkable areas were prioritized for outreach using calls and peer-to-peer texts.
  • Ahead of volunteers knocking in a neighborhood, Wake GOP HQ would use i360 Text to give voters a heads-up that they would be knocking soon and taking precautions to conduct safe voter contact during the pandemic. This was shown to not only build trust with voters but also increased the rate at which voters answered the door compared to other groups.
  • Voters that weren't home or didn't answer the door were then added to i360 Call & i360 Text universes for follow-up. Since voters had been pre-texted prior to a neighborhood being canvassed, they were able to keep in touch with Wake GOP HQ and ask questions about absentee and early voting, key issues, and obtaining yard signs.
  • Using i360's Digital Segments, voters were targeted with specific digital ads that reinforced the message delivered at the door, over the phone, and by text.
  • Voters that were identified as supporters were encouraged to visit Wake GOP's i360 Vote page, which enabled voters to find their polling location, early voting centers, and request an absentee ballot.
  • All of this outreach activity and ID data fed right back into i360, allowing Wake GOP's target universes to update automatically every night, ensuring the most efficient, accurate field program possible.

Unable to rely on other options, Wake GOP partnered with i360 to rapidly build a data-driven, fully integrated ground-game to ensure victory across the county.

While i360's solutions were empowering volunteers and activists in the field, Wake GOP's leadership and endorsed candidates were able to monitor results and adjust their strategy on-the-fly from their war room using the robust i360 Portal, a secure data and action management platform.

Leaders used both standard and customized dashboards to view real-time metrics and results, identify trends, and quickly reallocate critical resources as Election Day neared.

In addition to i360 Portal's native Canvassing Report, a custom dashboard allowed HQ and region leaders to view which precincts were being covered at what time.

i360's Absentee & Early Vote dashboard provided daily insights into ABEV trends, historical comparisons, and outliers that might influence strategy.

Standard Daily Toplines & Grassroots View dashboards provided both high-level and detailed data on volunteer activity and individual level results, eliminating the need to create time consuming spreadsheets like they previously had to. Additionally, charts within the Grassroots View dashboard populated to identify optimal times for voter contact based on past performance, which was utilized to efficiently schedule volunteers.

Overall, i360 increased efficiency and saved both volunteer resources and party funds while fulfilling Wake GOP's needs.

By partnering with a one-stop solution, Wake GOP eliminated the need to partner with multiple vendors for their data, tech, and analytics needs, which saved precious time and money.

Not only was Wake GOP able to make over 100,000 voter contacts in a short period of time, those contacts were also highly targeted and persuasive thanks to the number of data points available and i360's dynamic scripting capabilities.

 

RESULTS

"We partnered with i360 late in the 2020 cycle after being dissatisfied with our existing data and technology options. i360 had us up and running in under a day, including setting up our custom region geographies, region coordinator accounts, and dynamic scripts. Within a week, we were utilizing the i360 Deep Dive as a tool to inform our targeting and ground game, digital segments for our target universes, and real-time analytics to see which messages were sticking with which audiences. All of this proved to be the difference when Chief Justice Paul Newby won by a narrow 401 vote margin. Had it not been for i360 and the Wake GOP volunteers, I am confident Paul Newby would not be Chief Justice of North Carolina today. Thank you, i360!"

Donna Williams, 2020 Chair, Wake GOP

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