Case Study Shows Campaign TeleForum Meetings Boost Electoral Performance

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Telephone survey shows Republican Rob Portman (R-Ohio) gained support because of direct contact with voters.

“We saw a dramatic increase in the use of TeleForum as a successful campaign tactic in 2010 and we were excited to work with Front Porch Strategies to deliver such great results for the Portman campaign,” said Mike Davis of Broadnet.

An independent survey of voters from the November General Election in the Ohio race for U.S. Senate shows those who participated in a TeleForum town hall meeting with Republican candidate Rob Portman were much more likely to have a better opinion of him and to vote for him in the election.

The survey, conducted by Wenzel Strategies research of Columbus, Ohio (http://www.wenzelstrategies.com), showed that 60% held a more favorable opinion of Portman as a result of the town hall meeting, as 36% said they had a “much more favorable opinion” of him because of the TeleForum town hall meeting, and 24% said they had a “somewhat more favorable opinion” of him. Another 14% said their opinion of Portman was less favorable as a result of the TeleForum meeting, and 26% said that the telephone forum had no effect on their opinion of Portman.

The survey respondents were randomly selected from a pool of 65,000 voters across Ohio who were invited during the campaign to participate in a TeleForum town hall meeting with Portman.
The telephone survey of 1,672 respondents, all of whom voted in the November election, was conducted Nov. 23-28, 2010. It carries a confidence interval of 95% and a margin of error of +/- 2.36 percentage points.

The Portman TeleForum was handled through Front Porch Strategies, a political consulting and services company based in Columbus, Ohio. The back-end technology for TeleForum is provided by Broadnet, of Denver, Colorado.

“We saw a dramatic increase in the use of TeleForum as a successful campaign tactic in 2010 and we were excited to work with Front Porch Strategies to deliver such great results for the Portman campaign,” said Mike Davis, Executive Vice President for Broadnet.

The survey showed a direct connection between participation in the Portman Teleforum meeting and a greater likelihood of voting for Portman. Among those who did not participate in the Portman TeleForum, 54% voted for Portman, while 31% voted for Fisher. But among those who did participate in the TeleForum, 66% voted for Portman, while 22% voted for Fisher, an increase in support for Portman of 12%.

Among those who voted for Portman in the General Election, 76% said the TeleForum caused them to have a more favorable opinion of him – in other words, the telephone forum was important in solidifying his political support. What is even more remarkable is that even among those who in the end voted for Democrat Lee Fisher in the election, 53% said the telephone forum left them with a more favorable opinion of Portman.

Among those surveyed, 58% voted for Portman, 28% voted for Fisher, 7% said they voted for someone else, while 7% said they could not remember for whom they voted in the election. The unofficial results of the election show that Portman won 57% of the vote, Fisher 39%, while other candidates won 4% of the vote.

Fritz Wenzel, President of Wenzel Strategies (http://www.wenzelstrategies.com), said the results of the telephone survey shows the telephone town hall meeting format is a very effective political tool.
“In politics today, it is increasingly difficult for candidates, especially candidates for higher office, to make meaningful, personal contact directly with voters. This survey shows that not only does the telephone town hall meeting deliver that personal contact, it generates an enormously positive result for the candidate,” Wenzel said.

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