Recap of webinar from 4/12/19

Audience Q&A with Celinda Lake, Lake Research Partners


Polling is expensive and it might not be worthwhile.  Don’t spend more than 10 - 20% of your budget on research.  Here are some tips for more inexpensive ways to poll:

  • Pool resources with other candidates to get broader information for everyone.

  • For a cheaper local option, tap into academics in your area.  Ask a local political science professor to help with polling.

  • Contact larger groups, such as insurance companies, labor unions, larger environmental groups that might be able to add on a few polling questions for you in polls they are already conducting.

  • Online polling is cheaper and can provide good information.  However, that may not be practical in rural or low-income immigrant neighborhoods with limited internet access.

  • Conduct your own focus groups by recruiting 10 - 12 people in your community and ask them questions.  Make sure they are a representative cross section of your community.


Incumbents are reelected because they are better known.  98% of Congressional incumbents are re-elected. There is an incumbent advantage for women elected officials as well. However, some long-term incumbents can be vulnerable if there is a perception that they don’t come to their district and don’t do much for their community.

  • Women incumbents are challenged more than men.  However, incumbency helps you raise money early.

  • Stereotypes diminish with incumbency.  Use your incumbency in ways to get more attention.  There is more opportunity for publicity and news coverage.  Hold a Town Hall to get your message across.

  • Create opportunities for “news you can use” for your district, such as how to sign up for the ACA, seminars for seniors, college loan seminars, etc.


If you are in a more conservative district, include messages about reproductive health care, including access to birth control, sex education, health insurance to pay for birth control, within a discussion of overall healthcare.  A successful message could be “politicians shouldn’t be making health care decisions”.


  • If your local Democratic Party views you as too liberal for your community, find alternative sources of money.  These labels matter more to the party than they do to the voters.

  • In national elections more women listen to the men in their lives as to how to cast their votes.  They believe that their husbands, boyfriends, fathers, etc. know more about politics because they have more time to devote to the news.

  • The colors you wear should make you feel confident.  Don’t wear busy patterns, dangly earrings, anything too fussy.  Red and blue palates pop. You can follow the color chart (spring, winter, etc.) to determine which colors work best for you.