Targeting and Electoral Gaps
People who run political campaigns spend a great deal of time thinkingabout how to reach voters and what to say to them. This process is called “targeting.” Campaigns engage in targeting largely to increase the efficiency of their communication with voters. Rarely can a campaign simply afford to “talk to everyone,” so the campaign has to determine which voters should be given priority. Strategic targeting helps campaigns categorize voters for the purposes of getting core supporters to the polls or persuading key voter groups to vote in a particular way. Every campaign, large and small, relies on targeting to determine who should receive paid communications (through television advertising, direct mail, and e-mail) and who should be contacted in person (through phone calls, canvasses, and house parties).