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The Higher Ground Lab Report – Vol. 2, December 2019

Welcome to The Higher Ground Lab Report a monthly newsletter that brings political data & tech insights to life.  

>> Our portfolio of political tech startups fight shoulder to shoulder with progressive candidates and causes. Through their innovative work, they unearth novel insights and new types of data. 

>> Today we are discussing the record levels of volunteerism around the recent Virginia elections, the effect of Fox News, and a new series of presidential polls.

Thanks for reading! 

Teddy Gold & Team HGL

Grassroots organizing drives record turnout in Virginia

The volunteer management platform MobilizeAmerica facilitated record levels of grassroots organizing in Virginia’s 2019 election:

  • Shifts scheduled through the platform were up nearly 5x from 2017 levels
  • 15k shifts scheduled through The Democratic Party of VA and individual candidates via web, email, social media and SMS links
  • 4.9k shifts scheduled in the last 7 days leading up to the elections

This grassroots enthusiasm corresponded with higher turnout and fundraising: 

  • TargetSmart reported a 300% increase in early voting turnout among youth from 2015
  • ActBlue reported contributions were up 2.5x from 2017

This incredibly strong digital organizing effort contributed to historic wins; all 140 legislative seats were on the ballot and Democrats took full control of state government for the first time since 1994. 

Sign up to volunteer in your community here.

Fox News Viewers are More Likely to Believe Fake News

Earlier this year, Survey 160 completed a first-of-its-kind survey connecting belief in misinformation with political and demographic affiliation, and self-reported media consumption. 

The research, conducted with Survey 160’s live interviewer SMS survey software, included interviews with close to 2,000 Americans covering a range of substantive topics, from belief in the medical consensus around vaccinations and GMOs to an accurate understanding of health care and the economy. 

A teaser from the not-yet released report is here, showing that Republicans who watch Fox News have significantly lower belief in the scientific consensus around human-caused climate change, even after accounting for differences in education, age, and consumption of other media. 

If interested in learning more about the full report or its methodology, read more about Survey 160.

How will Tier 2+ supporters vote? New ‘preferential’ polling

In November, Swayable applied their persuasion-testing science to understand how supporters of tier 2 and tier 3 candidates might vote for a tier 1 frontrunner. “Second choice” political dynamics are especially important in caucus-based primaries like Iowa. 

The answer? Likely voters who aren’t backing any of the front-runners ranked Senator Elizabeth Warren highest.

Quartz covered the poll and explains: 

“The poll asked likely voters to rank the primary candidates, a useful way to understand the broader preferences of voters who will not have to make a final decision for months…In our most recent poll, likely voters who aren’t backing any of the front-runners ranked Warren highest among the top three.”

Get the full interactive experience here.

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