WASHINGTON, DC: With several key congressional seats up for grabs in November and a major election looming in 2000, GOP consultants are planning to retool their party’s PR strategies and tactics for political campaigns.
WASHINGTON, DC: With several key congressional seats up for grabs
in November and a major election looming in 2000, GOP consultants are
planning to retool their party’s PR strategies and tactics for political
The National Association of Republican Campaign Professionals (NARCP) is
hosting a conference in Easton, MD, on October 2 and 3 to launch an
’assault on conventional thinking.’
A meeting held nearly 20 years ago in Leesburg, VA saw the GOP establish
the tactics that have proved extremely effective over the last two
NARCP president Bill Lee recalls the conference as a ’watershed event’
that helped formalize thinking about how strategic messages could be
used - and responded to - effectively.
The upcoming conference will examine how the party’s PR campaigns can
continue to be effective in a communications environment that has
changed drastically over the last two decades.
Likely topics on the group’s agenda include the rise of independent
expenditures (such as advocacy advertising) and the Internet, and the
simultaneous decline of network TV. The group will also discuss how
changes in election law in states such as Texas, which allows early
voting before the scheduled election day, make it harder to plan
political PR campaigns.
Currently, the GOP is riding high in the polls. An August 11-12 Fox News
survey showed voters favoring the GOP over Democrats by a 48 to 36%
margin in generic congressional balloting. But the 2000 election,
boasting a presidential campaign and the hotly anticipated Rudy
Giuliani/Hillary Clinton clash for a New York senate seat, is already
Republican PR strategy since the late 1970s has been premised on
cornering the Democratic opponent as a ’liberal,’ thereby presenting the
GOP as the ideological opposite when it comes to issues such as fiscal
integrity, national defense and social issues. But the political
environment has changed radically, and the ’New Democrat’ agenda makes
it hard to pin the liberal label on Democrats.
Even so, as GOP pollster Jan van Lohuizen suggested, the chances of
rising international instability should increase the saliency of the
GOP’s pro-defense message. And, as always, few voters favor the
imposition of higher taxes.
A key battleground will be younger voters, who will increasingly hold
the key to electoral dominance.
’They don’t read newspapers, and they’re on the Internet more than any
other group,’ said van Lohuizen. He added that the young tend to favor
quality-of-life issues usually associated with Democrats, while also
supporting the fewer taxes/less government agenda commonly identified
with the GOP.