WPA Intelligence Congratulates Glenn Youngkin

It has been a distinct honor for WPA Intelligence to have been a part of the Youngkin team, building the data and analytics infrastructure that helped navigate the campaign through a tumultuous nominating contest, then build a winning collation of suburban, rural, and urban voters across Virginia on Tuesday night.

Glenn Youngkin is a generational candidate who lifted the entire team around him through his optimism, indefatigability and faith.  I’ve seldom been prouder to be a part of helping elect a person to office,” commented WPAi CEO Chris Wilson.

Youngkin Polling Director and WPAi Vice President Amanda Iovino said, “This campaign was data-driven from the beginning. At Glenn’s direction we built the strongest analytics program in Virginia history, giving the campaign the ability to identify persuadable voters in every community across the Commonwealth. We used the analytics to drive the polling that showed us the messages that not only resonated with voters but motivated them to vote for Glenn, and the results speak for themselves.”

WPAi Wins Big During 2020 Awards Season

WASHINGTON, DC –Today, WPA Intelligence, a national leader in data science, survey research and digital strategy, is pleased to announce that we have been awarded Best Application of AI Technology to Optimize Targeting and Best New Research Technique at the 2020 Reed Awards.

We are also proud to announce that our organization has received a 2020 Pollie award, which will be revealed at the conference next month and our Director of Research, Dr. Trevor Smith was named to the AAPC’s 40 Under 40 list.

“Awards season is a great time to recognize our contributions to help our clients win. I’m very proud of our team of researchers, data scientists, and digital strategists. What we accomplish together continues to lead the industry,” – Chris Wilson, WPAi CEO.

Best Application of AI Technology to Optimize Targeting

Using AI technology for targeting allowed us to zero in on a central issue for the Trump Presidency: the passage of USMCA. By bridging the gap between data and digital, we delivered highly targeted digital advertising to raise awareness among carefully segmented audiences about one Representative’s inaction on the matter. We helped our client focus their efforts on mobilizing key voters to engage on the issue and, ultimately, enact change.

“In taking this innovative and data-driven approach, we were able to achieve message saturation and drive our informed audience to generate sufficient buzz to get their Representative to change her public posture and speak out in USMCA’s support, highlighting the power and importance of using highly targeted ads, ” said Hilary Resta, Senior Digital Strategist at WPAi.

“This was not only a win for the Trump Administration,” added Resta. “This was a win for all of the voters likely to be influenced by USMCA’s passage.”

To learn more about our digital team’s work, click here.

Best New Research Technique

Over the past decade, WPAi has been proud to lead the field in research innovation. As evidence by our sixth Reed Award in the past three years, we have continually been ahead of the pack in polling and data science. While we continue to pace our competition, we are hard at work looking for the next big thing to help your cause succeed.

“We are thrilled to have received this award, but find it much more important that we are able to use this innovation in initial research to help our clients better understand the universe they’re looking at,” said Dr. Trevor Smith, Director of Research.

To learn more about our research team’s work, click here.

WPAi Wins Big at 2019 Reed Awards

Did you hear the big news? WPA Intelligence brought home three awards from The 2019 Reed Awards for our outstanding work in the 2018 Election Cycle!

Best Use of Data Analytics/ Machine Learning

In one particularly data driven race, the use of analytics ensured WPAi could provide decision making and targeting power despite conflicting information. At times, public polling on its own told a very different story than measuring the “state of play” by incorporating predictive modeling. Utilizing polling and analytics together allowed for the strategy and tactics to shape a winning operation.

Scores derived using predictive modeling drove WPAi’s subsequent polling, ensuring an accurate representation of the total vote through Proportionate Probability Sampling (PPS), where a higher turnout score provided a better chance for selection in the sample. This allowed us to sample the correct number of voters, couple with their likelihood to vote, and control for ever-changing enthusiasm.

Best Data Analytics Solution

The “WPAi Guided Analytics Platform” is a custom modeling solution that enables our team of data scientists to produce resource-efficient analytics and strategic advice at speeds and volumes unheard of outside presidential campaigns. This tool moves campaigns beyond daily tracking polls and into daily predictive models, much like microtargeting advanced traditional polling. This tool was used on behalf of top statewide races to produce up to 900 million voter scores, per night, for the last two months of the campaign.

Overall, our daily tracking alone produced as many as 57 scores on as many as 23 million voters.  This system allowed us to deliver detailed trends for dozens of targeted universes and demographics, plus prescriptive analytics and strategic advice first thing the next morning.

Best Use of Online Targeting for Gubernatorial Campaign- Republican

WPAi combined custom modeling with a wealth of existing data to provide one Gubernatorial campaign with a layered topography of the electorate. Identifying which voters were concerned with, or could be motivated by, specific issues or messages allowed for a tightly-targeted digital campaign that evolved over the course of the primary and general elections to deliver specific messages to specific voters.

WPAi Wins Campaign and Elections “Reed Award” for Best Use of Data Analytics/Machine Learning in Field Program

Utilizing Analytics for an Optimized Ground Game

The Greg Abbott for Governor re-election campaign entered the 2018 cycle with an aggressive focus on both vote goals and a clear aim to successfully generate Republican-leaning turnout targets at the individual level to support Republicans down the ballot and across the entirety of Texas.

The unique structure of Texas politics, where non-Presidential year turnout is extremely low (averaging 35% over the last three mid-terms) presents an opportunity to identify and turn out a large number of Republican-leaning voters who would typically not participate in a mid-term.

WPAi and our team, led by Senior Data Scientist Dr. Timothy Lee, began our effort to assist the Abbott campaign by building a predictive model of likelihood to vote in the mid-terms and likelihood to support Abbott. This yielded approximately 4.5 million individual targets for turnout efforts.

WPAi then helped the campaign plan the location of 180 field operatives who will be responsible for mobilizing volunteers to contact these targets by using an vertex-covering optimization algorithm.

This algorithm made it possible to effectively build field turfs for all 180 operatives across the massive and diverse expanse of Texas that were both:

1) Geographically contiguous and compact, and
2) Were scaled in such a way that a field operative who the plan called for to be hired 18 months from Election Day would have almost exactly three times the targets as one planned to be hired six months from the election, so that all of the targets could have the highest likelihood of contact.

The first wave of field operatives are already in the field based on the optimized turfs with a second wave planned for early 2018. To date, the campaign has already contacted 232,836 voters at the door.

What was the impact of data and analytics on the campaign?

WPAi’s predictive models and optimized field operative allocation is providing the geographic blueprint for one of the most powerful field efforts ever attempted by a state-level race.

To date, the first wave of field operatives and their volunteers have already contacted 232,836 voters at their doors.

What was the impact of data and analytics on the campaign?

WPAi’s predictive models and optimized field operative allocation is providing the geographic blueprint for one of the most powerful field efforts ever attempted by a state-level race.  To date, the first wave of field operatives and their volunteers have already contacted 232,836 voters at their doors.

The pre-built optimized turf structure also allowed the campaign to adapt seamlessly after Hurricane Harvey inundated much of East Texas. Operatives were quickly re-assigned or hired to cover other turfs in unaffected areas of the state while Houston and the Gulf Coast recovered.

Pictured: The WPAi team (left to right) Conor Maguire – Senior Client Strategist, Ashlee Rich Stephenson – Chief Strategy Officer, and Chris Wilson – CEO.

About Dr. Timothy Lee, the mastermind behind this Optimized ground game: Tim is an expert in mathematical optimization and his current interest lies in applications of convex optimization to machine learning and statistical modeling. When Tim is not in the office, you will find him at local tea shop studying mathematics and reading Milton Friedman. He was once known as “the sniper” for his remarkable jump shot in Basketball. Tim holds a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, specializing in operations research.

Is the White Working Class a Republican identity group?

I like to catch up on my reading of the weekend, it’s the only time my constellation of e-mails, text, messages, slack messages, and phone calls (the future is, in fact, terrible) slows down enough that I can actually read and think about a piece.

So, paging through various things saved to my reading list I found a trend. It’s like machine learning, only with one old slow brain. But sometimes it still works.

Data point 1:

The Center for American Progress published some information about their big roll-up turnout analysis which combines census data (Current Population Survey and American Communities Surveys, various well-conducted academic post-election surveys, and voter file analysis).

The key takeaway among many interesting points which we already knew (such as black turnout rate declining from 2012) is that the exit polls, and thus many analyses of what happened, substantially understated the White Working Class share of the electorate.

These new estimates suggest that White Working Class voters made up 45% of all votes cast while college educated whites made up only 29% of the electorate. Exit polls had suggested an advantage for college-educated white of 37% to 34%.

Data point 2:

The NYT Upshot/Sienna College poll in Virginia was released Sunday. While the topline isn’t all that interesting compared to polling averages (Northam +3), access to detailed cross-tabs reveals one important story.

Gillespie is willing the White Working Class by 63% to 23%. While WWC voters are typically a Republican-leaning group, that 23% for Northam is a pretty stark number.

If the undecideds break lopsidedly for Northam, then perhaps this poll means nothing.

But, if his number stays that low its further evidence that, as several smart folks commented on twitter (and sorry to those smart folks, I didn’t record who you were individually to give you credit), the WWC is behaving like a racial identity group in the same way that we’ve historically seen black voters, for example, behave.

So what?

The outcome in Virginia will be important to watch. If the WWC is indeed behaving more and more like a racial identity group, it has some important implications for 2018 (and beyond).

In fact, it probably has enough implications that I could spill a few tens of thousands of words on them. And I probably will. But for now, a few quick ideas of what it might mean:

  • Expect to see a lot more of the sorts of ads that drive the DC press corps nuts—confederate monuments, criminal gangs, and amnesty for illegal immigrants are all issues that signal to these voters that a candidate sees thing from their point of view.
  • The opioid epidemic will be a profoundly important issue. Opioids are destroying WWC communities (and many other communities) and the sincere belief that a candidate understands and cares about this issue is going a critical factor in mobilizing these voters.
    • Look for a prosecution (of drug companies, distributors, and traffickers of the non-prescription opioids) versus treatment divide to start to emerge between Republicans and Democrats. If Republicans can capture the anger that these problems have been overlooked for so long, it’s a huge win.
    • Republican politicians with too-cozy relationships with drug companies and others implicated in this crisis are in real trouble.
  • Democrats who are still trying to play “how do we win the WWC” may be making a big mistake. As Republicans have learned after more than a generation of trying to win black votes based on agreement on some issues and policies that would actually help many blacks, identity voting is a tough thing to overcome.
  • There is a long-term challenge for Republicans in this new alignment because the WWC is rapidly shrinking as a fraction of the overall population. To build a sustainable coalition on top of a WWC base we will need to message to their concerns in a way that still gives us the ability to win college educated white, Hispanic, and Asian votes.

WPA Research Announces Change to WPA Intelligence

Still Offering Superior Polling,
WPA Intelligence Leads the Way in Data, Analytics and Technology

APRIL 11, 2017
CONTACT: Chris Wilson
PR@wpaintel.com 202-470-6300

WASHINGTON – Today, WPA Opinion Research announces that it is changing the name of the company to WPA Intelligence (WPAi).

While WPAi will still provide the same industry leading, highly-respected polling and survey research, WPAi has become an industry leader in data analytics, predictive modeling and technology. “Research” was no longer fully descriptive of what the company does.

“WPA needed a name that better describes our services”, said WPA Intelligence founding partner and CEO Chris Wilson, the former Director of Research, Analytics and Digital Strategy on the Cruz for President campaign.  “We are an intelligence company.  We provide political intelligence, public affairs intelligence, marketing intelligence and corporate intelligence.  While this includes survey research, it is increasingly about data, analytics and technology to manage these data.”

WPAi has lead the way in innovating the use of predictive analysis to deliver exceedingly accurate intelligence in the fields of politics, business, marketing, and public affairs.

“We are thrilled to take the next step forward for our company and the industry,” said WPA Intelligence’s Chief Research Officer and Partner Bryon Allen. “The entire process is moving away from just using data based on demographics to collecting and analyzing data at the individual level.  We help companies and candidates understand their target audiences in new, different, and unprecedented ways so they understand at a very granular level the right way and right message to communicate.”

“Having spent the last 20 years working in data and analytics in the US and around the globe, I can attest to the fact WPAi is making incredible progress in allowing candidates and organizations to target activists, donors, and voters in unprecedented ways,” added WPAi COO Alex Muir.  “We are excited about our future at WPA, and look forward to continuing our pursuit of excellence at every level.”