Clarity joins The Great Battlefield podcast to talk data and analytics

Cristina Sinclaire recently joined The Great Battlefield podcast to discuss her career and how Clarity Campaign Labs is helping Democrats and other progressive organizations through polling, advanced modeling, and analytics. Listen to the episode here.

Digging into the archives, you can also listen to Clarity Partner John Hagner’s interview on The Great Battlefield talking about the role data and analytics play in campaign strategy and the state of data-driven campaigning after the 2016 election.

A remarkable week

In the days since the election, we've heard a lot of talk about a "blue wave." We can let other people debate exactly what that means, but we know for sure that our partners and clients had a great night. We were proud to be part of important victories and hundreds of campaigns that were run the right way.

To all the candidates, organizations, clients, and partners who had a big November, congratulations! And to the voters who elected new, adult leadership, THANK YOU. Our souls needed the reminder: hate doesn't win. 

Clarity is incredibly proud of the role we played to provide valuable intelligence and insight into voter behavior for efforts across the country. Here at Clarity we're nerds who love statistics, but even more than that we love finding ways to make data approachable, informative, and actionable. We are grateful to have earned the trust of so many important races and issues across the country.

A few key highlights from Clarity's 2018 cycle:

  • Our modeling and analytics tools were used by the coordinated and groups that made up 90% of Democratic House spending this year, including helping the DCCC take back the House with an overwhelming 35 seat gain (and counting!)

  • Supporting the DGA and Gubernatorial races from coast to coast in picking up 7 Governor's seats, turning the tide in states Trump won like Wisconsin and Michigan

  • Working with the DSCC on Montana and North Dakota Senate races, supporting incredible teams fighting on difficult terrain, and also assisting the Virginia Coordinated campaign

  • Expanding access to democracy for 1.4 million people in Florida with Amendment 4 and helping win ballot initiative victories across the country, and helping win ballot initiatives across the country

  • Designing a winning path to victory with Kendra Horn in OK-05.

  • Knocking doors during GOTV to help bring home wins in VA-02, KS-03, NJ-07 and the Montana Senate race.

Clarity team canvassing in their matching hoodies for GOTV weekend 2018.

Clarity team canvassing in their matching hoodies for GOTV weekend 2018.

Some of us are currently helping with recounts and others are taking some much needed R&R, but don't hesitate to reach out. We're always exciting to talk about our latest innovations from this cycle and finding ways we can help move progressives forward, no matter how small the fight.

Thank you, 
David, Dan, John, Cristina and Team Clarity

New Poll: Mainers reject a rushed confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh

A new survey conducted by Clarity Campaign Labs on behalf of Planned Parenthood Action Fund shows that Mainers want an investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh. Mainers expressed an unfavorable view of Brett Kavanaugh 40% unfavorable to 33% favorable, even without reference to the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Overwhelmingly, Maine voters want the nomination process to slow down and an investigation to be launched (62% to 36%). The survey was conducted between September 22nd and September 24th. See more results here.

New Polls: Voters strongly support Roe v Wade and want clarity from Brett Kavanaugh

A new series of surveys conducted by Clarity Campaign Labs on behalf of Planned Parenthood Action Fund shows that voters across the country are solidly in favor of upholding the precedent set in Roe v Wade. Voters want their Senators to demand clear positions on Roe v. Wade from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and are willing to take action. The survey was conducted between July 3rd and July 9th, 2018 using live calls to 1,347 registered voters in Alaska and Maine. See detailed results here for Maine and Alaska.

Washington Post: Letting people vote at home increases voter turnout. Here’s proof.

Clarity's Likely Voter models were used for a compelling study on vote by mail:

The challenge in trying to evaluate the impact of vote at home on turnout is that there’s never a control group. Turnout rates in the states where everyone can vote at home — Oregon, Washington and Colorado — have increased since the system was adopted, and they’re now among the highest in the country. But because elections are complicated, and each state’s demographics are unique, it’s hard to prove that vote at home is the cause. 

 So Pantheon Analytics did the next best thing. The firm looked at voter files — the records of individual voters kept by state elections officials — in Colorado in 2014 and compared them with the predictions of a respected voter turnout model created by the Democratic-leaning consulting firm Clarity Campaign Labs. Turnout models use publicly available voter file information — age, sex, voting history — combined with consumer data to generate a probability score for each registered voter. 


Politico Pro: Democratic Polling Shows Obamacare Repeal Tax Reform Hurt Republicans

We worked with Not One Penny and Protect Our Care to test the impact of educating voters about how Republican incumbents voted on health care and taxes. Using a treatment and control structure, we found that both issues were equally effective in driving up negative ratings at about the same level.

Subscribe to Politic Pro to read more:

HuffPost: Abortion Isn’t Main Reason More Republicans Still Won’t Back Doug Jones, New Poll Finds

We were excited to see our survey vote for Planned Parenthood Votes covered by HuffPost:

On Nov. 4-5, Clarity Campaign Labs, a Democratic polling firm, surveyed 707 Alabama voters in a survey commissioned by Planned Parenthood Votes. (Planned Parenthood has no involvement in the Alabama special election and has not endorsed a candidate.) The results were shared with HuffPost. 
Clarity Campaign Labs was specifically interested in Republican voters who might be persuaded to back Jones. The survey found that less than 1.5 percent of Moore’s supporters said they had considered switching and backing Jones. 
The pollster then tried to figure out why those voters decided to stick with Moore. Was it because of Jones’ support for abortion rights? 
But Clarity didn’t want to limit people with a list of possible answers. So they were asked to explain, in their own words, why they continued to reject Jones. 
“Abortion wasn’t really in the top couple issues people gave us,” said John Hagner, the Clarity pollster who conducted the survey.
More than one-third of those Republican voters who said they decided not to switch to Jones gave a reason that fell into the category of just generally not liking him. Ten percent said they didn’t like his personal history. (Jones is a former U.S. attorney best known for finally putting Ku Klux Klan members behind bars for blowing up an African-American church back in 1963.) Eight percent cited abortion as the reason. 
“Of the people who were undecided, they weren’t citing choice as the major driver,” Hagner said. “Of the people who had considered voting for Jones and decided not to, there was a whole range of issues.”
Clarity conducted the poll before women came forward and alleged that Moore had pursued them when they were in their teens and he was in his 30s. Presumably, there are more Republicans giving Jones a second look. But Hagner said he didn’t think abortion would now become a more significant factor in the race. 
“If there was a pro-life Democrat running in this race, would he or she be doing better? We don’t see any evidence here that that’s the case,” he added. “There are people who won’t vote for any Democrat because of choice, but those are people who wouldn’t vote for any Democrat. They aren’t inclined, they’re not winnable voters.”


John Hagner Joins Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Daily

Clarity Partner John Hagner recently sat down with Chuck Todd to talk differential non-response bias on Meet the Press Daily. One of the issues in 2016 was a struggle to fully capture rural, white, non-college voters. "The kind of people who will talk to strangers about politics just aren't representative of the ones who won't," said Hagner when discussing what Todd calls a "polling blindspot." People will happily answer who they are voting for, but once you start to scrutinize that vote, they tend to opt-out. While this isn't the way a majority of the electorate behaves, it is certainly enough to tip the balance. Todd notes that even in their own surveys at NBC, they have experienced lower response rates and completed surveys in rural America. 

Check out more from the segment at the link below, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @claritycampaign to keep up with the latest news as we continue to unpack this issue.


Politico: Democrats burned by polling blind spot

John Hagner, a partner at Clarity Campaign Labs, a D.C.-based Democratic analytics firm, said 2016 taught the party a hard lesson about polling in the Trump era.
“The folks who would talk to a stranger about politics just aren’t representative of people who wouldn’t,” he said.
The first evidence of the party’s polling blind spot surfaced in a governor’s race, the 2015 contest in Kentucky. Both public and private polls going into the election showed Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin running neck-and-neck — Conway had a 3-point lead in the final RealClearPolitics average — but Bevin won by a comfortable, 9-point margin.


John Hagner Talks Early Voting on POLITICO's "Off Message"

Last week, John Hagner sat down with POLITICO's Glenn Thrush to talk early voting. Joining him was Mark Stephenson, founder of Republican data science firm Red Oak Strategic. The podcast aims to answer questions about how campaigns use sophisticated data operations to make predictions and decisions based on early vote patterns. Early Voting has been on the rise in recent years and it is expected that early and absentee ballots could account for almost 40% of entire votes cast in 2016. "Every cycle since I have been doing campaigns, Early Voting has increased in its importance. It has become a larger and larger piece of the electorate...This cycle we expect that more than a third of the national Presidential votes will come in early," said Hagner. This emphasizes why it is crucial for any modern campaign to have an organized ground game that can utilize likely voter models and candidate support scores to turnout voters. Currently, Clinton has the edge in early voting-- backing up conventional wisdom that Clinton has a far superior ground game than that of the Republican nominee. Citing Clarity's models, Hagner stated, "As of [Thursday] night, 16.35 million votes have been cast. Our modeling says that Hillary Clinton is winning them by 5.7%." While noting that we are up overall, John encouraged everyone to knock on doors, make calls, and get out and vote! 

To hear more about early voting, check out the podcast available today on iTunes or read Glenn's article titled Scandals Matter, but So Does Turnout.


Every cycle since I have been doing campaigns, early voting has increased in its importance. This cycle we expect that more than a third of the national presidential votes will come in early.
— Hagner on POLITICO's "Off Message"

UPDATE: Clarity Partners with Bloomberg Politics for Battleground State Analysis

Back in September, we wrote about our partnership with Bloomberg Politics to bring you an eight-article series focusing on battleground states for 2016. We are only one week away from the end of a tumultuous campaign cycle and all eight articles are now available. The data-driven series featured Clarity’s national models, such as our party score and turnout score, to make assessments about the electorate and what each campaign would need to do in order to win the swingiest of swing states.  Below you can find a link to each article as well as brief summary.

Battlegrounds Week 1: How the Battleground Game is Played

A quick primer on base votes, GOTV targets, and persuadable voters.

Battlegrounds Week 2: Tracing Donald Trump’s Rust-Belt Route

Trump has a narrow path to the White House, and any route he takes to get there almost certainly runs through the rust-belt states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. For Bloomberg’s first piece, we looked at working class white males living near factories that have closed in these key states.

Battlegrounds Week 3: Gaming the Six Week Election Day

We know that early vote has become an increasingly important piece of campaign strategy, but where does it matter most? This week looks at “The Arithmetic” in Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona, Iowa, and Ohio.

Battlegrounds Week 4: The Clinton Campaign Has a Millennial Math Problem

After a longer than expected primary battle with Senator Sanders, the Clinton campaign has found itself struggling to get millennials fully on board. In this piece, we looked at who we might reasonably believe are Sanders “holdouts” and whether or not that would change the equation for Clinton in New Hampshire, Maine, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Battlegrounds Week 5: Which States Can Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Spoil?

In a follow-up to Week 5, we helped Bloomberg identify voters that could cast ballots for third-parties. Clinton probably has more to lose to third-party candidates (See Week 4 for why) but what states could this plausibly tip the balance?

Battlegrounds Week 6: Hillary Clinton’s Military Targets

Generally, those with some connection to the military are more reliably Republican voters, but Trump’s confusing foreign policy, often at odds with the party, seems to have put significant amounts of military voters in play. This week we conducted an analysis of voters in close proximity to military bases to weigh Trump’s vulnerabilities in states like Virginia and Geogia.

Battlegrounds Week 7: In Search of the Never-Trump-Ticket-Splitters

If Republicans want to hold onto the Senate, they may very well have to concede the White House to Clinton. We went looking for those Americans splitting their vote between Clinton and other GOP candidates, and calculated the share of ticket splitter targets in key states.

Battlegrounds Week 8: Clinton’s Florida Secret Weapon—New Puerto Rican Arrivals

Puerto Ricans fleeing the debt crisis and settling down in Florida may be a boost to Clinton’s chances of winning this key battleground state. In the final week, we looked at the share of Hispanic voters in and around key parts of Florida that lead Democrats to victory.  

Once again, special thanks to Bloomberg Politics' Sasha Issenberg and Steven Yaccino for their detailed work on this project.