Our Red State and Regional WorkA case study.
Though we work all over the country, our bread-and-butter has always been helping Democrats and progressive causes win tough races in places where the national Democratic message doesn’t always play well. Our firm is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, and we are the go-to pollsters for races in conservative areas. Our success in Red States comes from an understanding that each race is unique, and we must craft a research approach tailored to a specific candidate or cause– not cookie cutter messaging that sounds like it comes from the Beltway.
We are proud of our record turning congressional seats from Red to Blue and helping our clients achieve success on very tough political terrain. Over the last decade, ALG has flipped more congressional seats from Red to Blue than any other Democratic polling firm. That includes helping our clients win competitive races, even in tough cycles like 2010, 2014, and 2016. In 2014, only three House seats moved from Republican to Democratic control – two of those were ALG clients (Gwen Graham in FL, Pete Aguilar in CA). And just last November, in what was a challenging cycle overall for Democrats, only eight seats moved from Red to Blue, with our clients representing two of those pickups (Tom O’Halleran in AZ and Charlie Crist in FL).
At the peak of Democratic success in 2006 and 2008, we were part of the teams that helped elect Democrats in incredibly tough districts throughout the Southeast and Mountain West. Our clients who won races in deeply red territory include members of Congress Bobby Bright (AL-02), Don Cazayoux (LA-06), Travis Childers (MS-01), Larry Kissell (NC-08), Jim Matheson (UT-02), Charlie Melancon (LA-03), Nick Rahall (WV-03), John Salazar (CO-03), and Heath Shuler (NC-11).
In the 2016 cycle, our client Roy Cooper beat the incumbent Republican Governor of North Carolina in what was the highest-profile and most expensive gubernatorial race of the year. We were able to identify and target a subset of highly-educated, suburban women who had voted for the incumbent four years before, but were on the fence due largely to his missteps on the HB-2 “bathroom bill” issue. Despite Donald Trump carrying the state by a few points, Cooper was able to appeal to enough of these suburban swing voters to narrowly oust the incumbent.
And in 2015 we took on and beat a political giant in a Republican-leaning state, helping elect John Bel Edwards Governor of Louisiana. We handled the polling for Gumbo PAC, which was the largest independent expenditure effort in the gubernatorial race and affiliated with the Democratic Governors Association effort. Republican Senator David Vitter was considered a heavy favorite for the state’s open gubernatorial election. And if Vitter was to be beaten, most observers believed he was more vulnerable to a Republican than a Democrat. However, even before the primary, our data showed that Democratic legislator John Bel Edwards had a real path to beat Vitter.
We found that state voters generally agreed with Vitter on the issues and thought he was doing a good job representing their views in the Senate, but they simply did not feel he was “trustworthy.” We were the first polling firm to show Edwards with an advantage in the runoff and our research provided a roadmap for the paid communications to successfully exploit Vitter’s “trust” vulnerabilities and give conservative-leaning voters “permission” to vote for a Democrat.
We are also go-to pollsters for End Citizens United. In the last two cycles we have polled in top-tier races for ECU in Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Last year, we were part of a joint effort for American Center (with another pollster) to gauge the political climate in “red” states with Democratic Senators – including North Dakota, Montana, and Indiana.
We also frequently work nearby the Dakotas, in Minnesota. Just last year, we helped the DCCC monitor the state’s 7th District (which borders almost the entire eastern border of South Dakota), and make resource allocation decisions and protect Democratic incumbent Collin Peterson.
Also in Minnesota, we’ve repeatedly helped Democrats win tough statewide races. We are the pollsters for the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, the state’s largest progressive entity. As part of the ABM team, we have conducted in depth- polling and focus groups to help Democrats connect with swing voters in suburban, small-town, and rural Minnesota. This work has helped ABM play a critical role in electing and re-electing Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Al Franken – by helping ensure they are competitive in Greater Minnesota and not solely focused on the Twin Cities.
We also have worked regularly in Iowa. Former Congressman Leonard Boswell was a longtime ALG client, whom we helped hold a GOP-leaning district for over a decade. We have also worked for the Iowa Democratic Party and are polling for Fred Hubbell’s current campaign for Iowa Governor.
For years we have worked for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, helping them fight difficult legislative battles in Iowa and Nebraska. We have helped them fight and win on things like comprehensive sex education funding and access to birth control, winning over deeply pro-life legislators on specific issues.
This cycle we are also working for Billie Sutton’s campaign for Governor in South Dakota. We anticipate being in the field several times throughout 2018 in this race, to regularly check the pulse of South Dakota voters.