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Omero: Certainly the political interest is that they are swing voters. The other piece of it is how much personal economic squeeze they are feeling and a lot of it is because they are moms. But Wal-Mart moms in particular, it’s not just concern about the econo- my nationally, it is real personal economic struggle. Making sure you can pay groceries, making sure you can pay your mortgage, paying for healthcare—all of those real, day-to-day concerns. Not only that, how many tasks these women are solely responsible for. A third of married Wal-Mart moms did nearly every task that we asked about completely on their own.

C&E: Is that the sort of advice or guidance that can be taken out of the poll for parties and candidates? Maybe that message needs to be more personalized? Omero: Absolutely. The poll definitely confirmed a lot of what we see in the legislative, congressional and statewide polling that we do for our other candidates. Women, particularly non-Democratic women, can re- ally determine elections. How do you talk to them? And it’s really talking to them about what affects their day-to-day life, not in terms of Washington politics or the back and forth of subcommittees, but really mak- ing sure that people feel their elected officials get it and understand what their lives are like. And it’s true with the Wal-Mart moms in nearly every race that we look at. Now, one other thing that I think is worth noting is that 60 percent of Wal-Mart moms said that they wanted to see government have a larger role rather than back off and stay out of the way.

C&E: You conducted the poll entirely online. How reliable are you finding that method? Omero: I think this is the exact kind of poll you want to use online methodology for. You want reach. It was a national study and you want to reach a particular segment. It turned out that Wal- Mart moms were more likely to use social media, like Facebook, and so on. It was clearly a good way to reach these folks. Yeah, when people talk about online for someone running for county executive, it doesn’t make sense. But for this kind of survey, it really was the perfect methodology.

C&E: The other thing I wanted to ask you about was your working with the guys at Public Opinion Strategies. I think more and more that surveys that are intended to become public, national surveys, are conducted by a Democratic firm teamed up with a Republican firm. Do you think that is something that has to be done for credibility? Omero: You know, I have to say, it was great to work with them. It was very much a collabora- tive process. They are a larger firm than me, and so they took the lead on the fieldwork. Neil

Newhouse has been in the business for a long time obviously, but it was very much a very col- laborative effort between him, Alex Bratty, who worked with him, and me. Our view of the re- sults, maybe were there subtle differences, you would have to spend a lot of time really thinking about it to identify them.

C&E: Is this sort of survey, where you try to focus in one subset nationwide, something you see happening more and more in the future? Omero: Well, definitely people try to come up with these taglines. It’s out of a desire to make some sense of this political landscape and out of swing voters. To find a key voter, that is im- portant so you can be more efficient in your communications, in who you talk to, and you can better understand voters. You don’t want to simply listen to the folks who are the noisi- est. Every cycle, people come up with differ- ent ones, and some of them don’t really sound swing or some of them are misidentified a little bit in the press. In this particular case, though, I think we’re

talking about swing women, swing moms. While other folks look at marital status, I think paren- tal status has a large impact here that is different than demographic differences. You see demo- graphic differences between married and un- married women. It’s the demographic differences that explain some of the political differences, but these Wal-Mart moms had the same education and income level as women overall, so it wasn’t a function of that.

C&E: Maybe we could talk a little bit, generally, about new techniques in surveys and polling. What do you think is coming up that will change the way the industry works? Omero: I think it depends on what the use of the poll is. So, if you are talking about a national survey, there’s all kinds of things, whether it’s the Internet or whether it’s cell phone only, which is only just recently having a little bit of effect. I think there is a distinction between creative methodology and creative messaging; creative methodology is great for reaching younger voters and national studies or institutional work where they have the budget to be sort of the resource and academic-like institution and resource of these kinds of differences. Then you’re talking about candidate work,

where these kinds of techniques are not as appli- cable and those folks, wherever they’re running, whether for city council or US Senate, they want creative messaging. They want messaging

December 2010 | Campaigns & Elections 51

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