THE POLITICAL ECHO CHAMBER
We all tend to spend time with people who think like we do. We enjoy their company and have good conversations without much dissension. When you are running for office or serving as a campaign manager, you need to make a serious effort to stay out of the political echo chamber where you keep hearing the same position expressed by pretty much everyone you talk to. When you are working hard to elect a candidate, you spend a lot of time with like-minded people and you begin to think that, except for an occasional malcontent, the vast majority of voters must agree with you, too.
If your typical day involves working for hours on the campaign, having meals and drinks with people from the campaign and then spending your evening hanging out on discussion boards where everyone agrees with your opinion, you are in the echo chamber. It’s actually quite a pleasant place to be, but it is hazardous to the health of your campaign. Unless you are in one of those districts that slant overwhelmingly to the left or right, you need to spend a lot more time understanding what the average person is thinking.
Even where it appears that your polling results show general agreement with your positions on the issues, you may discover that the average voter sees things in a completely different way than you do. For instance, you may have found that the voters strongly support improving education. However, some may define that as increasing teacher salaries, others may believe the most important thing is fixing up the school facilities and still others may believe the priority is tougher standards, stronger discipline or more concentration on core curriculum.
Listen to the middle-of-the-road and less politically involved voters and even take some time to really hear what the other side is saying. It will strengthen your campaign’s ability to communicate with the voters and you just might find that there are some things you can learn from the people on the other side of the issues.