Know Your Audience in Municipal Elections

Know who you are talking to before you speak.


Many municipal candidates think that to win they must craft and deliver a message for all the voters in their ward. This approach is only going to waste your time and money.  A candidate needs to discover their base and target voters before hitting the campaign trail.

Identifying base support or target voting is a bit easier in Provincial and Federal politics as you can group people by demographics, special interests, income levels, etc.. In a municipal election where party politics play little to no role at the Councillor level, you are starting from scratch.

When finding or selecting your audience you need to establish where your time and dollars are best spent. Consider a hypothetical election that has 20 voters, is 20 days long and a has spending limit of $20. An amateur applying the “I represent everyone” technique would take one day reaching out to each voter, spending $1 on each. I hate to break your heart, but you are wasting at least 80% of your time and budget and getting lapped by your opponents in new supporters.

Using the same simple election scenario, here is a quick way to figure out your target voters. Out of 20 people:

12 People – Will not vote. I’m a fan of democracy too, but your job as a candidate is                                          not to increase voter turn out – ignore these people

2 People –  Will vote for you no matter what you do. This is your base support made                                        up of family and friends.

2 People – Will only vote for your competitor. Don’t take it personally, everyone has                                        their base support.

4 People – Are voters that are undecided. These people are your target voters.

Applying this simple formula, you can spend your budget and time on your target. That is 5 days and $5 on each. So who do you think has a better chance of getting the support of the undecided voters: the candidate who spent 1 day and $1 to get their message out, or the candidate who spent 5 days and $5?

Now that you know who you are talking to, you can tailor your message to that group.

Keep Knocking,


Still wondering how you find that 20% of voters who are undecided? As a City Campaigner Member, you can have access to a step by step webinar on using readily available information to identify your target voters. To become a member contact me.