Campaign Essentials

Methodology

Between 1998 and 2016, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation commissioned Democratic research and consulting firm Lake Research Partners (formerly Lake Snell Perry & Associates), Republican firms American Viewpoint, Inc. and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, and Hughes & Company (formerly Staton Hughes) to study women candidates for governor and how voters respond to their campaigns. Media firm 76 Words designed and created visual stimuli for the research. The resulting body of work is the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Governors Guidebook Series. That series is distilled in this book, along with the key findings from separate pieces of research focusing on women candidates more broadly. These works studied messages for women candidates; demonstrating qualification; contrasting with opponents;
and showcasing likeability.

Survey Research and Focus Groups

1998-2000:

Lake Snell Perry & Associates purchased exit poll data from Voter News Service for all states where data were available. Included were nine of the 10 races in which women ran for Governor (no data were available for Hawaii). They also conducted a survey among registered likely voters nationwide, including likely voters in Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Washington (considered “woman friendly” states for their history of electing women to statewide office). Lake Snell Perry & Associates conducted 10 focus groups in the following locations: Baltimore, Maryland; Wilmington, Delaware; Old Bridge, New Jersey; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Phoenix, Arizona.

2002

Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, Inc. conducted 10 focus groups with swing voters before the gubernatorial elections in five states where women gubernatorial candidates were running: Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Michigan. They conducted nine more focus groups with the same participants immediately following the 2002 elections. In one case, a new group convened.

2006

Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, Inc. conducted a survey among registered likely voters in seven states where five female governors and two male governors were running for re-election: Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Lake Research Partners analyzed 2006 exit poll data from Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. Of the 36 states with elections for governor, exit poll data was available in 24. The analysis focused on these states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Vermont.

2010

Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, Inc. conducted pre-election surveys among registered likely voters in the states with women gubernatorial candidates: Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming. They also conducted pre-election surveys in two states with only men gubernatorial candidates (Vermont, Wisconsin) as a control group. They conducted post-election surveys among general election voters in Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Vermont. For the two states with woman vs. woman races, they also conducted seven pre-election focus groups in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2012

In April, Lake Research Partners conducted a telephone survey among 1,000 likely voters in Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin with an oversample of 200 young women (age 18-35) voters.

In August, Lake Research Partners also conducted four focus groups in Chicago, Illinois and Manchester, New Hampshire. They also designed and administered a phone survey of 1,000 registered likely voters nationwide. In October, Lake Research Partners designed and administered an online dial survey of 1,000 registered likely voters nationwide. The sample was drawn from an online panel and respondents were screened to be registered and likely voters.

2013

In September, Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting conducted five expanded focus groups with 25 people each among registered swing voters in Oak Brook, Illinois and Richmond, Virginia. In addition to the work by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation assembled a bipartisan group of professional media consultants to review the methodology and findings. The research studied how women candidates can effectively contrast with their opponents—or “go negative”— in TV advertisements. Asking professional media consultants to review the methodology and findings ensured the research would be pragmatic for women candidates themselves and vetted by the experts who could produce the ads.

2015

Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting conducted seven focus groups with men and women in September of 2015. Participants were recruited to reflect a mix of age, marital status, parental status, income, and education. Additionally, Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting designed and administered a survey that was conducted online in fall 2015. The survey reached a total of 1,000 likely 2016 voters nationwide with oversamples of 100 African Americans, 100 Latinos, and 100 Millennials. 76 Words designed visual stimuli for focus groups and online surveys. This research focused on likeability and women candidates, exploring what makes a woman leader likeable.

2016

Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting conducted 11 focus groups with men and women in March and April of 2016; held Bulletin Board groups May 17 through May 19, 2016, among 60 recruited respondents nationwide; and designed and administered a dial survey that was conducted online from August 1 through August 9, 2016. 76 Words designed visual stimuli. This research focused on how women candidates can best talk about different family situations

Campaign Tracking and Interviews

Between 1998 and 2012, Hughes & Company led a bipartisan team of researchers who tracked the gubernatorial contests in which women were nominees of the major political parties. Researchers monitored print and internet coverage, including news websites, campaign websites, and blogs. In addition, the team collected copies of campaign commercials and radio and TV broadcast debates. Following the elections, these researchers interviewed individuals who participated in or observed those campaigns including candidates, campaign managers, finance directors, press secretaries, consultants, party officers, and reporters who covered the races. In 2014, this research was done on behalf of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.