Election-planning research

Helping you know where you stand with voters before you finalize your next referendum

When a ballot issue is on the horizon, Patron Insight can help your school district take the temperature with voters on the district’s performance and on the ideas you are considering.

Working with more than 160 school districts – of all shapes and sizes – on Election-planning research has taught us that three factors are important to election success.

First, you must be seen as doing a competent (and preferably, a commendable) job handling the daily duties of a school district. So, we ask people to “grade” the district’s performance on a host of people, program and facility areas, plus some critical district/patron relationship factors. We’ll bring a starter list of these factors to our planning meeting with you, and walk out with one that is customized for your district.

Second, patrons have to have more than a passing interest in the school district. Limited searching for such news in traditional and social media, with “friends and neighbors” and via the school district’s outbound communications does not bode well for success at the ballot box. Working with you, we will pinpoint a list of possible sources, and then quiz our respondents to find out which ones they consult “frequently” for school district news.

Third, of course, your voters have to like the ideas you a proposing and, if there will be a tax increase, be willing to pay for them. We’ll design a survey that separates the higher-profile projects on your list – repaving a parking lot is probably not one of them unless you only have two or three total – into separate questions, to determine which ones shine in the eyes of voters, which ones are more “meh,” and which ones might cause a problem, if they were included in your ballot issue.

The preferred data collection method of choice is a random dial telephone survey of registered voters, divided up to match your district’s population pattern. Doing so provides statistically reliable data that we slave over, looking for differences that will make an impact on your ballot issue planning.

We often pair the telephone survey with online versions for parents, community and teachers/staff. These supplemental surveys help to tell the story of the attitudes and preferences of your stakeholders when it comes to your referendum, while also giving everyone who wants to be heard in this process a method to do just that.