Custom Fields To Know Your Voters Better

July 6, 2017 - 9 minutes read

Campaigns, in recent years, have gone out of the way to personalize their communication with voters. As discussed in a previous post, this level of personalization is achieved through building voter profiles.

Voter profiling is useful in running a targeted campaign. You can specify the content of SMS and mail updates you send over the campaign period. Dispatching volunteers for door-knocking is easier if you know which neighborhoods will extend you more support. Even your GOTV effort would show better result because you can focus on the voters who you know to be on your side.

SMS is the simplest way to collect data from your voters. How about doing the same through your phonebanking volunteers? However, not all volunteers come with the same level of practice and communication prowess. Plus you want to make it a smooth experience for new volunteers as well.  Balancing the conversation to win over the voter’s support while collecting information about them would be overwhelming for the volunteer.

This is where custom fields come in. What are they, you say?

how to use custom fields in voter profiles

Well, custom fields are additional fields you can add in your voter profiles and define yourself to collect specific information about your voter. This will aid the next conversation or message, which you can customize for different voters.

Now in addition to the regular data your phonebanking volunteers gather, you can specify what questions to ask and improve your knowledge about the voter.

Things you need to know

Your voter data should contain the details about the voter like their name, number, address, zip code and past voting history. If those details are not filled, the volunteer should ask for that information first. Provide a script so the volunteer can ease the receiver into a conversation.

Now there are some methods you can employ which will allow you to grasp the voter’s perspective. After all, many voters are reluctant to share their personal views about a candidate or policy. Instead of directly asking them about their beliefs, other information about their life can reveal much about the person.

The analytical way

All of the choices and decisions we make in our lives are guided by emotions. The decision made by a person would help you predict how future decisions would be made. Decisions like how likely they are to support your candidate’s policy. How likely a voter for the opposition in the past election is affected by a local issue. Based on the data, you can specify your approach and win over a stronger supporter base.

The most common system to identify a voter is the same used in corporate recruitments. It is based on the OCEAN or CANOE model (or any other anagram you can come up with).

The five factors of identification

The model uses five pre-existing traits to identify someone’s personality. These five factors are

  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Neuroticism
  • Openness to experience

Every individual is considered to possess each of these factors to some extent. The level of each of these traits determines how a person is likely to react to any situation. Including some questions to identify these traits will help you analyze your voters better. Let us look into the traits and how you can include them as a custom field in your voter data.


Extroversion is marked by one’s desire to engage with the external world. They are action-oriented and likely to socially involved. People with greater extroversion levels tend to volunteer and participate in campaigns more often.

Add a custom field to record if a voter has any volunteering experience. If they support your candidate, they would also spread the word in their own circle. It is always good to get extroverts involved in ground work as they keep the campaign energy up.


Agreeableness reflects a person’s differences when it comes to social harmony. Agreeable people are more optimistic and likely to support causes in the interest of others.

Ask your voters about their opinion on policies of the candidates or past ones. Disagreeable people tend to be more vocal and would express a strong opinion on certain issues. Agreeable people tend to swing their vote more often. So keep your communication up with agreeable voters through the campaign period. You could even win over voters of your opponent this way. On the other hand, you could always use someone with low agreeableness levels in campaign management roles.


Conscientiousness is a measure of how we control and act on our impulses. A person with high conscientiousness levels would have conservative beliefs and prefer stability in life. While someone with low conscientiousness levels would be more liberal in their opinions and prone to impulsive behavior.

Add a custom field about the voter’s preference of life security. Ask them if they have insurance or own property. These are good indicators of a person’s level of conscientiousness. This will also help you understand how likely they are to support any political candidate and their policies.


Neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions. Neurotic individuals are prone to anxiety, anger and intense emotional behavior. They are very cautious of change and may respond in hostility if they feel cheated.

Voters who are high on the neurotic scale would not be too keen on change. So they would express doubt or distrust of policies and be very wary of propaganda. Ask your voters if they verify their news for source and keep track of social issues. Maintain a steady line of communication with supporters who tend to be neurotic and keep them updated. This is not just during the campaign but throughout your period in office.

Openness to experience

This is a trait that separates imaginative and creative people from close-minded ones. People who score high on this scale are more open to exploring new ideas and liberal in their choices. The ones at the other end of the scale have narrow interests and tend to be conservative.

Voters who show an interest in arts and adventure and are seen as intellectuals in society can be identified to possess this trait. These supporters are also more stable and receptive of new policies.

Of course, the combination of these traits would affect the personality of the voters. So it is vital to gather information about all of these traits to know the voter better. Someone who is low on extroversion and high on openness would not be socially active and might need to be regularly engaged. You have built your voter data to specify how to best connect with every individual voter. With the use of custom fields, even volunteers can be relied upon to use the data to improve your voter communication.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,