Over the last week we’ve been looking at how big data and voter segmentation, via digital footprints, was used by Barack Obama and by Donald Trump to be elected. The strategy is to mobilize non-traditional, but likely voters, to the polls. In the El Paso Chavez-Escobar-Fenenbock race, early voting starts tomorrow, and the outcome will likely be Escobar without a runoff. This is because the primary, in El Paso, is about party politics and special interests. Veronica Escobar is the heir apparent – the Dedazo – for the El Paso political elite. The voter target universe for all three campaigns are the approximate 39,000 primary voters, which are composed of the average of all the primary voters in the last four primaries. Some political observers argue that there will up to 60,000 votes cast this cycle. These voters, for the most part, are already segmented into the three camps; 50% Escobar, 30-35% Fenenbock and 15-20% Chavez. The needle within these voters is unlikely to change by Election Day. So, what will it take to beat Escobar?
Veronica Escobar cannot win in a runoff, even against Fenenbock. Escobar will also lose in a runoff against Chavez. To beat Escobar, her two opponents need to move the matrix away from 50% to just under 50% for Escobar, forcing her into a runoff. Therein lies the ticket to beating Veronica Escobar.
The El Paso voting roll is made up of over 400,000 voters. The campaigns are fighting over 8% of the voters who traditionally vote in the primaries. It is very easy to force Veronica Escobar into a runoff. All it takes is to think outside of the box. Here is math:
If the expected 39,000 voters cast a vote by Election Day, Veronica Escobar needs 19,500 to avoid a runoff. As it stands now, according to the polls I have seen, Fenenbock has topped out at about 12,800 votes and Chavez has locked in about 5,850 votes. Obviously, these are guesses based on expected voter turn out so don’t expect the numbers to be exact. They are useful for explaining what it will take to force Escobar into a runoff. I am also assuming that the “undecided” fall somewhere in the percentages matrix as they will be forced to decide, one way, or the other, when they cast their vote.
I believe that Dori Fenenbock has topped out at the 13,000 voters because of her Republican pedigree. Remember, we are looking at the primary voters whose motivations are centered on party politics and self-serving agendas. They are the Veronica Escobar base.
Norma Chavez, on the other hand, can wear the “first-Latina-woman-from-Texas” badge appealing to the party loyalists that want to have the first Latina woman from Texas in Congress. The problem for Chavez is that she got into the race too late and has little infrastructure to message the 39,000 primary voters.
What Chavez and Fenenbock need to do, at this stage of the game, is think outside of the box. Let us assume that both have locked in the primary voters they are going to get. They need to look at a larger universe and mobilize voters from there. It is important to note that neither candidate ignore their locked-in primary voters, they must continue to ensure that they cast a vote by Election Day.
Some readers will be tempted to argue that my numbers are off the mark and that Escobar holds a much larger lead. To those arguments I point to Escobar’s strong defense of her husband’s ties to Donald Trump and her distancing of herself from Jaime Abeytia at the KVIA forum. If Escobar’s internal polls showed a strong lead, she would not worry too much about her ties to Trump and Abeytia.
What Veronica Escobar fears right now is the mobilization of voters from outside the primary matrix. These voters will unlikely vote for Escobar, changing the dynamics for Escobar.
Let’s look at a worst-case scenario. Let’s assume Veronica Escobar has a 55% lead over the other two contenders. Let us also assume that 60,000 voters turnout. Although, keep in mind that this is not a presidential election, thus many less voters will turn out.
If 60,000 voters cast a vote, it will take 6,007 new voters introduced into the matrix to force a runoff for Veronica Escobar. Obviously, that only helps Fenenbock as it puts her in a runoff against Escobar.
But what about Norma Chavez, can she put herself into a runoff?
Norma Chavez would have to mobilize an additional 9,001 voters from outside of the primary voters.
However, this not being a presidential election, I believe that about 40,000 votes will be cast this cycle. That means that it would take 4,005 votes to force Veronica Escobar into a runoff, assuming she is at 55% today, which is very generous.
Chavez would still be required to bring in an additional 9,001 voters into the equation.
In both scenarios we assume that Dori Fenebock is topped out at 35% of the vote.
Traditional campaign operatives will tell you, its too late to mobilize or that it doesn’t work and, thus, it is better to focus on what has worked all this time. Keeping to the strategy will not change the fact that Veronica Escobar has more primary voters in her pocket then the other two candidates. Both Chavez and Fenenbock might change enough votes to force a runoff, but that only benefits Fenenbock. For Fenenbock, it’s probably a good strategy to focus on eroding enough primary voters from Escobar’s pocket to force her into a runoff. But for Chavez, that won’t benefit her at all.
Regardless, Fenenbock and especially Chavez, would benefit from expanding their voter outreach to mobilize other likely voters, forcing the mathematical matrix to change for Escobar.
How can that be done?
Let us look at another voter universe. Let’s find all the voters who voted in the 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 General elections in November. I realize that some political observers like to throw out the 2008 election, calling it an anomaly because of Obama. However, that sentiment does not acknowledge the turnout in 2016, which was significantly much larger. Regardless, in statistical analysis, a larger sample tends to give us a better picture of what the result would be.
So, let’s stick to our last five November general elections to see where we can find the voters we need. This universe consists of 84,582 voters that are present in today’s voter list. This universe consists of about 27,000 voters who are 65 years and older. There are about 21,000 voters that have cast a vote in the last five general elections and are 50-64 years-old. In the 40-49-year-old range, there are about 10,000 voters.
But get ready to get your mind blown away, there are 11,368 voters that cast one vote and have a 100% score. They are in the 18-24-year-old range!
What!!! No way!!! That’s the likely reaction most of you are having, young voters don’t vote.
That is because most readers miss an important element in the calculation. The data shows that there is a large universe of voters who cast a vote immediately after getting their voter registration card. Why? It is simple, for an 18-year-old there must be an element pushing them to get their voter registration number. Be it patriotism, parent encouragement, or right-of-passage, that same element would likely get them to the polls on the first-time possible.
Today, there are 22,157 18-24 voters who just got their voter registration card.
But, but, why would they vote against Escobar, after all she is the “progressive” candidate, i.e. the “Bernie Sanders”-like preferred candidate. That’s because no one has come forward to give them another option. This universe is easily manipulated and have bought into the “progressive” credentials that Escobar has created. The Bernie Sanders El Paso group has one issue they are voting on – get Donald Trump impeached.
Escobar has two issues that she has desperately tried to keep off the campaign trail, her husband’s work for the Trump administration deporting immigrants and her taxation policies. These are trigger issues that can be leveraged against her to mobilize voters.
For the young voters, they just need to understand that Veronica Escobar has more in common with Donald Trump then she has with them, because of her husband’s work deporting immigrants. They just need to be encouraged to cast a vote. Fenenbock would not benefit from this voter universe, but Norma Chavez offers the label of the first Latina from Texas in Congress and no baggage questioning her anti-Trump bona-fides.
The Donald Trump connection to Veronica Escobar would also work with the 84,000 plus voters who consistently cast a vote in the last five November general elections.
For those of you arguing that the November voters don’t normally vote in the primaries, it is important to remember that before Donald Trump there was not enough national controversy in El Paso to force a change in the voter likely to cast a vote profile. Donald Trump will bring out voters, if properly used.
Mobilizing 6,000, or in the case of Norma Chavez, 9,000 new voters to the polls is not as difficult as it sounds. It comes down to messaging the right message to this universe. The El Paso Voters APP’s big data makes it much easier then before. We know the score of the voter universe and we know how to contact them.
It would take a three-prong attack. First, send a Veronica Escobar Trump-connection flyer to the first-time voters and a subset of our 100% voters, women, men or by zip code, or whatever. The 80,000+ voters would be much better but not necessary. Follow that with another one next week and one to hit right before Election Day. At worst, Veronica Escobar would end up in a runoff, meaning she will lose leaving either Fenenbock or Chavez as the Congresswoman representing El Paso. It’s in the numbers.