RunningMate Glossary

This glossary provides definitions and context for terms and expressions that RunningMate users encounter while using the application.  This living document will be updated when necessary to ensure accuracy and completeness.

  • Inferred Support

    • Definition: The number of voters the user can reasonably assume will support their campaign when given the chance to vote.
    • RunningMate Usage: RunningMate assumes that Base voters will turnout and support a user’s campaign based on shared values and past voting behavior.  Users first encounter the Inferred Support in Step 3 of the Goal Setting Workflow when they are informed of the number of voters that fall into the Base segment.  While the application currently counts 100% of Base voters as supporters and does not permit edits, users will eventually have additional flexibility to adjust this target.

  • Margin over Win Number

    • Definition: The amount by which a candidate exceeds the win number estimate.  This number is usually represented as a percentage.
    • RunningMate Usage: Users encounter the Margin over Win Number field in step two of the Goal-Setting Workflow.  This field allows users to establish the percentage by which they want to increase their Win Number Estimate to provide an additional buffer on election day.  The field accepts positive integer values from 0-50.

  • Max Targets

    • Definition: The number of individuals from the voter file that fall into a specific segment of voters.
    • RunningMate Usage: Users encounter Max Targets in the Inferred Support and Voter ID Goal sections of Step 3 of the Goalsetting Workflow.  This figure is derived from a formula that allocates voters into the Base, Persuasion, and Turnout segments based on their voting likelihood and general partisanship.  For the Voter ID Goal section, the Max Targets field provides an upper limit to goals the user can set for the Turnout and Persuasion segments.

  • Support Goal

    • Definition: The number of individuals a campaign should identify as supporters (revealed and inferred) before the start of GOTV. 
    • RunningMate Usage: The Support Goal is the sum of the user's Base, Turnout, and Persuasion goals set in step 3 of the goalsetting workflow. RunningMate recommends setting a Voter ID Goal of 150% of the campaign’s Win Number Estimate.  Achieving the Support Goal is the primary objective against which the Goal Tracker feature measures progress.

  • Registered Voters

    • Definition: Individuals listed on an electoral roll for the jurisdiction where they reside.
    • RunningMate Usage: 
      • Step one of the Goal-Setting Workflow: One of two categories of required user inputs used to calculate the voting rate. In this context, Registered voters refers to the number of people qualified to vote on a past ballot question on the day the election was held. This is a point-in-time accounting of the voter rolls and is not interchangeable with registered voter statistics before or after a given election.
      • Step two of the Goal-Setting Workflow: In the Turnout Estimate section, “Registered Voters” refers to the total number of people who currently qualify to vote for a specific ballot question.  This number is pulled directly from the active voter file associated with the user’s account (Source, TargetSmart, etc…)

  • Total Voter Turnout

    • Definition: The total number of eligible voters that vote in an election.
    • RunningMate Usage: “Total Voter Turnout” is one of two categories of required user inputs used to calculate the voting rate in step one of the goal-setting workflow. In this context, Total Voter Turnout refers to votes cast for a specific ballot question. This is particularly important for down-ballot elections, as often fewer votes are cast for these contests than for the race at the top of the ticket.

  • Turnout Estimate

    • Definition: The number of people expected to vote in an election or for a ballot question.
    • RunningMate Usage: Users encounter the Turnout Estimate in step two of the Goal-Setting Workflow.  This number results from multiplying the voting rate calculated in Step One by the number of voters currently registered to vote in the district.  In this use case, the Turnout Estimate refers to the number of people expected to vote on the ballot question the user is contesting.

  • Voter ID Goal

    • Definition: This goal represents the number of unique voters a campaign aims to engage and identify as supporters using the support score survey response.
    • RunningMate Usage: The Voter ID Goal is the sum of the Turnout and Persuasion goals set in step 3 of the goalsetting workflow. The user may adjust each subgoal from 0 to the Max Target for each segment. 

  • Voting Rate 

    • Definition: The proportion of eligible voters that cast a ballot in an election.  Usually presented as a percent, this number is calculated by dividing the number of votes cast by the number of registered voters on election day.
    • RunningMate Usage: The Voting Rate is a component of the goal-setting workflow.  In step one, the user enters values for the “Total Voter Turnout” and “Registered Voters” fields for at least one comparable election.  The voting rate is then determined by dividing Total Voter Turnout by Registered voters. When data is entered for multiple elections (up to 3), the average voting rate of all comparable elections is used.

  • Win Number Estimate

    • Definition: The number of votes a candidate must secure from the anticipated vote total to carry an election.  This is 50% of the expected turnout + one voter in a head-to-head contest.  Candidates often adjust this number to account for local context and campaign strategy.
    • RunningMate Usage: Users create a Win Number Estimate in Step 2 of the Goalsetting Workflow.  The proportion of votes a candidate must secure to carry an election can vary widely based on factors specific to a contest and/or jurisdiction.  For example, an election that requires a simple plurality of votes cast to secure victory may have a Win Number well below 50% if many candidates enter a race.  RunningMate currently uses a 50% threshold because achieving this mark will ensure victory in most contests.  Additional flexibility will be added to this calculation in the future.

Targets — Targets are groups of voters you aim to reach during your campaign. Campaigns segment target groups by age, political beliefs, location, and many other factors.

  • Base Targets: Potential voters who are more likely to support you due to shared political ideologies, demographics, or party affiliation. You'll rely on this core group for votes, but they also play a crucial role in volunteer efforts, fundraising, and word-of-mouth campaigning.
  • Turnout Targets: These voters lean toward your views but aren't consistent voters. Your campaign will need to use strategies like issue-oriented outreach, reminders about the importance of voting, and logistical assistance (like information on polling locations) to persuade them to vote.
  • Registration Targets: This group contains people eligible to vote but are not registered. They might share your views and, if you can get them registered, could boost your vote totals. Strategies for reaching them include registration drives and information distribution about how and where to register.

See also: Getting Started with RunningMate or Glossary of Campaign Terms

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