As part of our 2020 election strategy, America’s Voice has conducted polling in five target states including (1) North Carolina, (2) Texas, (3) Georgia, (4) Florida, and (5) Arizona. The purpose of the polling is to determine how candidates, campaigns, and other advocacy groups should discuss the issue of immigration with persuadable voters in swing states.
Our 2020 election ad campaign is a series of Facebook ads designed to test the messaging our polling suggested would be the most effective in these states to provide our trainees with tangible ideas for how to run ads and talk to voters.
We ran a total of 4 ads in Texas over a two-week period. Our messaging was based off of a general state poll prepared by GSG with our Texas toplines and benchmark. These polls suggested that the pandemic and economic issues (health care costs, unemployment, social security) dominate issue priorities. Immigration is not top-of-mind in Texas, which is a departure from the past several election cycles (for both parties/sides of the issue). While Texas voters are largely supportive of a path to citizenship, it is not animating issue. It is not controversial, but unlikely to mobilize voters on either side due to other priorities. There is much more urgency around undoing Trump’s aggressive and divisive immigration policies and agenda: family separations, children in cages, and the border wall, than there is for traditional immigration reform ideas.
Our test audience is somewhat left-leaning voters in Texas, ages 18-65. We did not narrow down any additional testing based on location or gender, but there is evidence in our polling that women in non-rural areas would find these ads most appealing.
What’s on the Ballot?
The purpose of this ad was to create a predominantly negative feeling towards the incumbent and mention DACA specifically and family separation, the issues that poll most positively in immigration.
“Senator Cornyn has done nothing to stop Trump’s cruel and inhumane immigration policies like family separation or the termination of DACA. It’s time to vote out senators who support policies rooted in xenophobia and racism. Vote Senator Cornyn out this November.”
This ad did surprisingly well in Texas considering how it did in swing states with similar polling. This ad is particularly policy-specific, which likely suggests that voters are well educated on this issue and willing to reject Trump’s inhumane policies. Our polling suggests there is much more urgency around undoing Trump’s aggressive and divisive immigration policies and agenda: family separations, children in cages, and the border wall, than there is for traditional immigration reform ideas. Those ideas are reflected in this ad.
The purpose of this ad was to push the narrative that Senator Cornyn has attacked immigrants during the pandemic when many immigrant workers are essential to keeping us afloat during the crisis.
“Immigrant workers are working hard to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. But Trump and Senator Cornyn are trying to deport immigrants and keep them out of the country. They want us to think immigrants are bad for America, so we won’t think about how bad Republicans are at their jobs. Don’t be fooled.”
This ad was successful in Texas because (1) it focused on the pandemic and (2) it mentioned scapegoating immigrants instead of real policy solutions- both messages which polled highest in the state. Although this ad did not mention the pandemic specifically, it was clearly meant to tie Trump to the health of Americans and then connect everything to immigration.
All of Us
The purpose of this ad was to create a predominantly positive feeling of unity around the pandemic, and to call on voters to reject racist scapegoating many GOP candidates have employed.
“America is strongest when we work together. It’s time to stop the racist and xenophobic rhetoric from politicians like Senator Cornyn. Vote together this November and vote Senator Cornyn out.”
This ad did fine in Texas because it focused on getting through the pandemic together. It did not mention immigration specifically, but the underlying message was to reject xenophobia and racism and to vote in a way that makes the state stronger as a whole. It should be noted that this was a very close third to the previous ad.
The purpose of this ad was to create a predominantly negative narrative around how Senator Cornyn has handled the pandemic and to remind voters of the lack of real policy in a time when many Americans are struggling.
“Americans need healthcare, a strong economy, and real safety measures during the pandemic. Instead of finding solutions, Senator Cornyn has used xenophobic and racist messaging to divide our state. Vote Senator Cornyn out this November.”
This ad did surprisingly poor in Texas, as the message closely mirrored our “ballot ad” and did very well in other swing states. However, the ad also did not mention immigration specifically, which. might indicate that Texans are more educated on the specific issue and respond well to policies.