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Sports Meets Politics: Ranking Potential Candidates

Updated: May 9, 2023

When it comes to the general public, perception is – more often than not – reality. Understanding the opinions, views, and preferences of Arizona voters is the first step to gaining meaningful insights that can help candidates and potential candidates speak purposefully and directly to their target audiences.


We know that name ID and net favorability are common indicators of a candidate’s electoral potential. But what about lesser-known or new candidates? How can we collect accurate and relevant data on voter preferences that go deeper than these two typical rankings? It’s all about asking the right questions.

OHPI has developed a “Demographic and Experience (D/E) Score” to help rank candidates who are relatively unknown to the electorate. The OHPI Power Ranking put out earlier this month put this new D/E scoring element into practice, comparing to the traditional measures of name ID and net favorability, to reveal some meaningful insights – be sure to check out our complete findings here. When assigning this D/E score, OHPI considered a potential candidate’s political party, age, ethnicity, gender, state of birth, different elected offices they may have held, and a number of other characteristics when assigning this score. Points are assigned based on how well the candidate’s personal characteristics match voters’ preferences, with 100% of the vote equaling 1 full point. For example, 38% of voters preferred a candidate who is a Democrat; thus, Democratic candidates are assigned 0.38 points (or 38% of a point); 37% percent chose a Republican, so Republicans are assigned 0.37 points (or 37% of a point) – and so on. Party, age, and gender play a larger share in these rankings than the other characteristics, and D/E scores ignore name ID and net favorability entirely. 

Okay, great! So how is this useful? 

D/E scores reflect the specific characteristics that truly matter most to voters – enough to indicate who and what type of officials Arizonans intend to elect. Keeping a “positive” image among voters becomes a feasible task when you have the data directly from voters that indicate what “positive” means to them. Discovering precisely which characteristics voters are drawn to identifies what messages and positions candidates should emphasize.

Knowledge is power, and having the data you need is the first step. Here at OHPI, we complete the process by asking Arizonans the right questions, analyzing the results, and developing predictive insights that directly translate into actionable improvements. Want to find out exactly how we can help? Set up a conversation here



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