Green-Rainbow Polling Group Proposal.

  • Proposal Last Modified November 19th, 2021(Some comments below will have been in response to earlier versions.)
  • CO-SPONSORS: Brian Cady & Elie Yarden
  • VETTING COMMITTEES: To Be TechCom, ComCom & Adcom
  • SUMMARY: Create an in-house telephone, online & etc. polling organization of volunteer active members to serve our campaigns and party regularly and consistently.
  • BACKGROUND: The lifeblood of politics is knowing our constituents’ wants, needs and understandings. Regular and consistent polling can provide us with both a better understanding of our immediate base as well as improved knowledge of those just beyond the party’s edge – the next to recruit as we grow. And it could be a great service for our candidates. We could, through polling, keep abreast of our constituents’ top issues in life, as well as learn the level of Green understanding of both our immediate base, our broader green supporters and the Massachusetts general population we intend to serve. In this way we can understand what to learn next, what to teach next, and how we should represent our base and constituency. I intend to use some random telephone polling to complement and inform online polling that may have self-selecting respondents, which would bias polling results. Telephone polling samples would be selected randomly from each of these; members, 'U' voters, and general public - as far as is possible, as limited by phone numbers available.
  • TechComm will co-ordinate the group, supplying one co-ordinator to build the monthly question bank, set up the software, answer questions and guide poll operation.
  • As co-ordinator, Brian Cady will build each month’s question bank in consultation with CDLC, MDVC and CommComm, to serve both our candidates and party, and Brian will analyze results.
  • Each chapter will nominate a team of members to poll their own region’s constituents, in collaboration with the other chapters’ teams polling their own constituents. In this way pollers will get to know their direct constituents and build local relationships. In addition, online polling may take place via email invitation, facebook, instagram, twitter,& etc.
  • Members of each chapter team would be invited to telephone poll together with the rest of the polling group once a month for overlapping six month intervals.
  • Once a month at a regular time, polling group members will meet via Zoom while telephoning either GRP members, ‘U’ voters or people in general in their chapter’s region of the state, as constrained by data availability.
  • Chapter team members will telephone poll about two hours per month.
  • Each respondent will only be asked six questions per month.
  • These six questions may be randomly selected each call, so that, through an evening’s polling, we may learn answers across the many topics selected for that month’s poll, (more than six topics), and record them, and so as not to annoy our respondents with unnecessarily long polls.
  • By examining answer correlations statistically, we will learn how different issues or understandings accompany each other in our constituents’ minds. Thus our communications committee and candidates will better understand which audiences know what, so that both can better inform and interest and activate their audience of the moment.
  • FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: Callhub / Hubdial subscription payments of ~$300/yr. Possible consultation and review with polling experts Grossman Solutions $2,500

Showing 23 reactions

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  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-11-21 04:17:01 -0500
    In response to Charlene DiCalogero’s second note:
    For a political organization, there is no replacement for good candidates, and there is no replacement for competent polling.
    One way to attract good, serious candidates is with the availability of competent polling towards a candidate’s campaign.
    Serious polling requires time to establish; to train each of the people in the various roles. This preparation can not be done well hurried, or on short notice.
    While competent polling is different now than it was in 1987, fundamentals remain true, important and useful. It will be essential to understand and incorporate the new polling methodologies, thus the important of good training.
  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-11-21 03:57:27 -0500
    Charlene writes:

    I appreciate that you believe polling will help the party understand various constituencies.

    I read your post carefully.

    The book you cited came out in 1987, if I read it correctly. meaning it was written when most people had landlines, not cell, and directories were meaningful. I got my 1st cell in 2006. I was a late adopter 15 years ago. So, given the huge differences in technology, news sources etc, it is significantly out of date. The book also states it is not aimed at political parties.

    I feel confident from my recent experience talking to constituents and potential candidates, that most people interested in electoral politics volunteer for candidates, not parties, even for Dems/Reps. Especially in nonpartisan races, where we’re try to recruit and build relationships and reputation, in addition to partisan races.

    When I talk to members, they often ask, not what’s our platform, but why aren’t there any GRP candidates on my ballot? That’s a sensible, central question, because that’s our job.

    So, I’d like to focus on the question,

    how do we find the candidates we need to attract, in order, the voters, members, and volunteers to build power for the 99%?

  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-11-19 12:55:46 -0500
    In response to Charlene DiCalogero:
    We cannot create a competent polling organization quickly, if the work of Celinda C. Lake is to be believed. Those involved need to train, and train well, to do good work. Once we realize that a candidate needs polling data to refine their message, it is too late to start such a polling organization. Thus we need to prepare when no candidate is present.
    Because real polling of large groups contacts so few of a population, it is not itself good outreach. I’m not talking about ‘push polling’, pretending to poll as an excuse to spread loaded questions to the public. The goal of real polling is not to change minds, it is to learn thoughts.
    We have been attempting to attract the already-active activists for years – this may be like preaching to another churches’ choir – we’ve worked this as much as it can be done, at this point, and we’ll continue this, but it can not substitute for competent polling. Seeking worthy candidates will also continue, but does not substitute either. These other tasks have different, complementary uses.
  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-11-19 12:41:08 -0500
    In response to Danny Factor:

    1. Constituent definition: Those who we strive to represent; the general population of a district. Varies by context.

    2. We would poll different populations for different reasons: Our base, to guide our appeals for funds and action; Those on the edge of the base, & unenrolled voters, to learn how to outreach for new members; General population, to understand who we seek to represent.

    3. This is not about learning how to tell people what they want to hear, even if untrue. This is about learning what is true, what is important, what people already understand and what we need to explain, and how we need to explain it.
    Why wouldn’t you trust the GRP with real power? We can insert moral language from our ten key values, repeating them again, but only continued vigilance by all of us will insure morally right use of any power we acquire. There is no wording that can substitute for our continued moral vigilance.
  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-11-19 12:26:32 -0500
    In response to David Spanagel: There is no way around our desperate need for more volunteers. We struggle as an understaffed ‘skeleton crew’ to maintain the party. We need to learn how to interest members in becoming active. We also need to have concrete ‘asks’ to approach potential volunteers with, such as helping conduct this polling. The topic of what inactive members want, to become more active, might be the ideal first polling topic.
    Active members are not like money in the bank, ready to spend when one likes. We need to intrigue them with useful, interesting work. When we do that, more will respond to our appeals for help. Meetings only interest a few. Polling is likely to interest different people than meetings.
    Well-done polling can inform outreach scripts, as well as candidate pitches. Poorly done polling just wastes time.
  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-11-19 12:10:06 -0500
    Celinda C. Lake in Public Opinion Polling: A Handbook for Public Interest and Citizen Advocacy Groups. published 1987 by Montana Alliance for Progressive Policy writes:

    “Debunking some common myths about polls:

    Myth No. 1: ‘Volunteers cannot conduct good polls.’
    Good polls can be conducted by volunteers at almost every stage. As in any volunteer task, the volunteers must be well trained, understand what they are doing, and be well supervised.
    It is essential that someone with a good understanding of polling be in charge of the poll. It’s also helpful to identify some polling experts in the community who can answer the questions that invariably arise.
    The most successful polling efforts frequently are achieved when the volunteers have a sense of ownership for the task. Volunteers should be requited for the task in the early stages, see the poll through to the end, be delegated distinct responsibilities, and be supplemented by other volunteers as needed.

    Myth No. 2: ‘Polling is too complex and costly for public interest groups.’
    In fact, with donated services and local calls, a poll can require little actual cash outlay. Money will be needed to pay for photocopying questionnaires and lists of registered voters, getting telephone directories, or using a computer to obtain telephone numbers. The major (and potentially costly) tasks of typing, sampling, interviewing, questionnaire writing, planning, analysis, data management, and training, however, theoretically can all be done by existing staff or volunteers. A key factor in doing an in-house poll is to allow ample time, particularly for the first stages.
    If you are planning on conducting anything more than a 10-minute poll, you also may have to pay for data analysis.

    To conduct a quality poll, you need to plan ahead. You will need someone to supervise the poll, someone to co-ordinate volunteers, and someone to take care of data entry. A volunteer poll usually requires a core group of 3-5 people, at least 20 volunteers willing to do the interviewing, and 2-3 volunteers for data entry. Although advance planning is needed, these volunteer requirements are usually well within the reach of most public interest groups.

    Myth No. 3: ‘Anyone can do a ’quick and dirty’ poll.’
    Polling is not complex, but it is a precise exercise, with many steps leading to the finished product. It requires detailed planning, careful supervision, attention to detail, and a great amount of time. During some stages, it can also demand substantial volunteer time.

    Well-organized polls are enormously useful to an organization, as well as interesting for the people involved. Polls are also a great way of using the talents of the people who support your organization."

    Page 8-10.
  • Elizabeth Humphrey
    commented 2021-11-03 11:38:51 -0400
    I want to start by saying I still think the intention of this proposal is good and eventually, is something we should find volunteers to start working on, but after reading Eileen’s, David Spanagel’s, Danny Factor’s and Charlene’s comments, I will agree that the proposal, without discussing & exploring Eileen’s, David S., Danny’s & Charlene’s suggestions of prep work first, the proposal is impractical at this time. I do want to keep this proposal and possible developments of the proposal on our to do list.
  • Charlene Dicalogero
    commented 2021-11-02 19:12:13 -0400
    Polling when we have no candidates is an unwise use of our time and funds at this time.

    Polling U or D or R voters is unlikely to yield us new voters—most U are hidden D or R, I.e., they vote consistently like the people living around them. Also, people are unlikely to pick up their phones. I know I don’t pick up unknown callers. People. who are Registered GRP might be worth calling with one open-ended question, and 1or 2 other questions. Our door knocking experience in 2016 in our region showed us that even GR registered, like most voters, are not very politically engaged.

    I suggest we focus on building relationships with activist groups in our area, & recruit candidates. We can do nothing about our members’ needs without getting candidates who can then be elected.
  • Charlene Dicalogero
    tagged this with Impractical 2021-11-02 19:12:12 -0400
  • Daniel Factor
    commented 2021-11-02 15:35:15 -0400
    I think this proposal is well intended and I could see a way that a more clarified proposal could be helpful to the GRP. I cannot say if I am for or against it at this point because I would need clafification e.g. on the below matters:

    1. The proposal uses the word “constituent”. Please define. Does the word refer to 1. Those GRP members in a specific region represented by a State Com Member? 2. A person who lives in a municipality in which there is an elected GRP official? 4. All GRP Members ?5. All GRP Members and Supporters? 5. Everyone in Massachusetts?

    2. The proposal appears to state that in different instances, we might be polling 1)GRP members or GRP members and supporters 2)Unenroled Voters 3)All Voters. It would seem to me that we would only poll different groups of people for different reasons. What would those reasons be, and how would we treat results from those different groups the same or diferently?

    3. No doubt information is power. So there is always inforgation gained by knowing more. The only thing is, the more that info from these polls would be used to craft GRP and GRP candidates positions, policies and priorities, the more I see this proposal as possibly contributing to the GRP being too reactive to mainstream biases, especially if we will not only be polling GRP members. E.g what if in the year 2000 a poll of GRP members, or GRP members & supporters, or unenrolled voters, or combined unenrolled & greens yiekded results saying our candidates should “play it safe” not highlight marraige equality because the likeliood of us prevailing in the near furure is slim,,.and what if we would have followed this advice? So sometimes the popular view is not the view that comports with the ten key values or a true moral compass. Political parties need to find a balance to be responsive to their members but also to lead and inspire based on our core principles which don’t sway towards the center. I’m glad that we held firm and vocal on marraige equality, and were part of moving that issue into the Overton Window rather than just watching the polls. So I think this proposal needs to spell out more the kinds of situations in which this information would be used, and the kinds of situations in which we would not use this information to color our positions, most especially when the proposed people we are polling are not even all registered GRP. Recall that there is no requirement to be registered GRP to be on most of our email lists including the ones we send email blasts out to.
  • David Spanagel
    commented 2021-11-02 14:18:28 -0400
    I share Eileen’s concern about how to best deploy our precious few energetic volunteer numbers. If and when our organization grows to the size where we have more than enough bodies to fulfill our most urgent tasks, then this kind of activity would be a reasonable addition to the list of things to ask chapters to take on. That being said, I appreciate the sponsors’ intentions and agree that we need to engage better in periodic outreach to our GRP “rank and file” for their input. I also foresee a great value of having a “script” ready for party members (think about our work as event-tablers or door-to-door canvassers) to be able to speak with non-J voters about our issues in a way that will enhance their receptiveness and help to better shape our messaging based on the reactions that we experience by trying different frames, perspectives, and even language choices for delivering those key GRP agenda items as potential rallying points for broader electoral support. If the proposal can be reconsidered to emphasize development of those useful ways of thinking and rudimentary tools of outreach and engagement, I think it would be a more practical approach for what to do now, especially given the current limited state of the party’s human and financial resources.
  • David Spanagel
    tagged this with Impractical 2021-11-02 14:18:27 -0400
  • Richard Vaillette
    commented 2021-11-01 15:51:09 -0400
    To date the CMGR Chapter has come up with nothing through polling, telephone or otherwise. I don’t recall hearing from "Initial establishment consultation and review with polling experts Grossman Solutions " . If anyone has insight into their methods and results with any groups somewhat similar to ours I think discussion might be very worthwhile.
  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-11-01 05:08:10 -0400
    In response to Eileen, John and others:
    1. A surprising thing about large groups statistics is how accurately one can estimate the group’s information based on polling a fairly small sample of that group; beyond a certain size group, polling about 300 members provides fairly accurate results, almost independent of the group’s size. Thus, since the size of the sample needed in large groups is such a small fraction of the group itself, polling isn’t a great way to do outreach, because so few are contacted.
    2. I don’t mean to downplay the importance of learning effective candidate messaging. I intend, but failed to make clear, that such polling would variously answer both general and candidate-, and electoral-contest-specific topics. Hence, with a candidate and race in mind, we might poll a certain region or town’s unenrolled voters to learn important issues and positions. When no local candidate is being considered, we might poll statewide unenrolled audiences, or at times our base; our Green-Rainbow-registered voters.

  • Elizabeth Humphrey
    tagged this with Good 2021-10-30 17:46:04 -0400
  • John Andrews
    commented 2021-10-30 16:33:06 -0400
    A proposal should not specify so many details of how the effort would be managed. At least say something like "Goals of the effort, subject to periodic review, are . . . ". I think the goals stated are beyond the current volunteer resources of the Party, but it might be possible to increase the number of volunteers. Polling is a universally acknowledged critical need of election campaigns, and lack of such polling is often a critical shortcoming for GRP candidates. I get the sense that this proposal is downplaying the electoral aspects of opinion polling and focusing on a broader understanding of constituent needs. There are already many public opinion surveys that provide such data. What we really need are results that will be useful to a GRP candidate who already understands their constituent’s general needs but is trying to decide how to formulate a message that will win voter support without alienating potential supporters. How could we direct this effort to ask questions that are critical to campaign messaging?
  • John Andrews
    commented 2021-10-30 16:31:04 -0400
    A proposal should not specify so many details of how the effort would be managed. At least say something like "Goals of the effort, subject to periodic review, are . . . ". I think the goals stated are beyond the current volunteer resources of the Party, but it might be possible to increase the number of volunteers. Polling is a universally acknowledged critical need of election campaigns, and lack of such polling is often a critical shortcoming for GRP candidates. I get the sense that this proposal is downplaying the electoral aspects of opinion polling and focusing on a broader understanding of constituent needs. There are already many public opinion surveys that provide such data. What we really need are results that will be useful to a GRP candidate who already understands their constituent’s general needs but is trying to decide how to formulate a message that will win voter support without alienating potential supporters. How could we direct this effort to ask questions that are critical to campaign messaging?
  • Jamie Guerin
    tagged this with Good 2021-10-10 19:08:45 -0400
  • Eileen Sheehan
    commented 2021-10-10 12:18:25 -0400
    This idea depends on chapter volunteers to do the actual work. Our chapter is not strong enough at present to commit to this. I recommend a more automated approach to outreach at this time. We could use a survey instrument such as Survey Monkey and conclude the questionnaire with an option to have a local GRP member reach out. (Volunteers are more likely to sign up for warm calling than cold calling.) We can also notify chapters when someone connects with us through email, Facebook or phone message. The volunteer-on-duty would then update a master survey.
  • Eileen Sheehan
    tagged this with Impractical 2021-10-10 12:18:25 -0400
  • Elie Yarden
    commented 2021-10-02 18:01:33 -0400
  • Elie Yarden
    tagged this with Good 2021-10-02 18:01:32 -0400
  • Brian Cady
    published this page in 2021 Autumn Statecom New Proposals 2021-10-02 12:33:59 -0400