Doing the Research

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I. Research and analysis are not extra frills; they are basic prerequisites for a successful campaign. For that reason, never neglect them. Budget for them from the beginning, and budget generously.

II. Not all tools can be applied with equal success at all times. When planning your strategy, take a comprehensive quantitative approach in the form of a broad survey. In order to prepare for this survey, make an extensive analysis of all publicly accessible sources: studies by universities, polls by newspapers and television stations, publications of the EU Commission (Eurobarometer etc.)…

III. For strategy, the following generally applies: Make a plan and follow it through. Operate pragmatically. Pause at the markers along the way and evaluate. Take account of, but don’t overestimate, unforeseen events. Readjust and adapt – when necessary!

IV. “The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself.” This quotation often attributed to Winston Churchill makes one thing clear: Opinion polls make politics. The campaign organiser is therefore well advised to make a careful study of survey techniques, statistics and questions of representativity. Whether it is a matter of unmasking the tactics behind such statistical tricks or making politics with them – if he or she prefers not to do this personally, investing in the right personnel is definitely worthwhile.

V. After all, nothing is more costly than a lost election.

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