Research & Vulnerability Studies: Know The Facts
Opportunities for candidates to get their message out is growing exponentially each year as new digital channels emerge, which means today’s opposition researcher needs to know their candidate’s political opponent better than ever by knowing these new digital channels, finding others and scouring them for information.
Your scope needs to include all social media channels, websites (candidates and supporting groups), local, state and other party digital platforms, video services, and more. That’s right, your campaign research report should no longer consist of just votes and quotes. It needs to scan the vast digital world, capturing your opponent’s every word.
Your research and analysis must be integrated into your campaign strategy, planning and tactics. Today’s research is a 24/7 effort using technology (and no, I’m not talking about Google alerts) to document the past and collect current information for real-time use in day-to-day campaigning. Your research should also be nimble enough to address events as they happen. Last minute information can turn a debate, change a podcast and find new blocs of voters to educate them to persuade them to become your supporters. Too many political candidates often rebut falsehoods with gut reaction and counter with emotion. Researchers should be ready to counter falsehoods, address an immediate need and show leadership through facts and knowledge, which can be your team’s margin of victory. You must counterpunch quickly, but with accuracy and truth.
Even as you read this post, the opposition campaigns are researching you. Your past, what you are saying and doing, seeing patterns, finding your weaknesses and strength. This is allowing them to predict what you will do and say and how you will react. Researchers need to stay on the opponent 24/7 to ensure that you win over those who will vote for you and those who are still deciding whether to vote for you, with the continuous feed of information that will give your team insight each and every day. Welcome to the digital world where you are already known and judged quickly. Remember, you need to know your opponent and know them well.