Working America Announces $70 Million Investment in Working-Class Voter Engagement and Persuasion Ahead of 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – Working America—the largest community-based group for working people in the country with 3.5 million members—announced today a $70 million investment in nine states to add one million new digital subscribers, connect face to face with working-class voters about working family issues, and increase the total vote share for union-endorsed candidates by 500,000.
Working America projects having three million conversations in its priority states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania; followed by Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to discussing their top issues on their doorsteps, more than a million of these voters will receive regular updates about the connection between kitchen table economics and politics.
“Working America combines year-round face-to-face organizing with clinical data analytics to build relationships with working-class people to help shape their worldview, ” said Matt Morrison, executive director of Working America @MattMorrisonWA. “In a politically noisy environment saturated by TV and social media ads, we offer compelling solutions and information that connects with voters’ lived experience. We break through the din by physically showing up at their doorsteps and staying connected digitally.”
Working-class voters represent a majority of the American voting electorate—64% of 2016 voters did not have a college degree and 66% earn below $75,000 per year. This electorate, which comprises a diverse group of people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, genders, and ages, is necessary for any successful electoral coalition.
“The math is clear: progressives need to win a larger portion of working-class voters ahead of 2020,” said Ruy Teixeria, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and coauthor of The Path to 270, the annual authoritative analysis of demographic trends and voting. “Working America's focus on these states and the working-class voters there is exactly where the election will be decided.”
Working America’s approach allows us to identify, with scientific precision, the working-class voters most likely to change their behavior because of our contact. We have run more than 150 randomized clinical experiments to assess every aspect of our program. Our work has been described in The Washington Post as one of the most effective programs for winning swing voters, and the American Political Science Association recognized us as a “leading force” in campaign science, providing us with an unprecedented edge in winning votes for union-endorsed candidates.
Working America’s election-tested analytics program of finding the most persuadable voters has been applied to each of our priority states. In Pennsylvania, for example, Donald Trump won the state’s 20 electoral votes by 44,292 ballots. Working America’s use of data analytics and modeling has identified:
The 6.2 million Pennsylvanians most likely to vote in 2020.
The 2.4 million of these 2020 likely voters who are open to being swayed toward progressive candidates.
By contacting 1.1 million of those persuadable individuals, Working America engagement will increase the progressive vote share by 130,000 votes. Knowing which voters to target for persuasion 12 months before 2020 is an enormous advantage as we begin banking support for union-endorsed candidates.
The effectiveness of Working America’s political program comes from our continual effort to organize on the economy, not politics, reaching a community that few progressive voices touch. Since 2016, members citing health care as a top issue has increased by 59%, while concerns about secure retirement have increased by 38%. Concern for education has increased by 17%.
We apply these same tools—face-to-face conversations, digital engagement, clinical analytics and relationships with members—to help tackle these issues through year-round organizing.
In southwest Virginia, we held conversations with more than 16,000 working-class people and built a base of 7,300 Working America digital subscribers to demand the state expand Medicaid to 400,000 residents. Two of the key GOP House Delegates who ultimately flipped from opposing to supporting expansion did so after hearing from these Working America members.
Members from Greensboro, NC to Minneapolis, MN successfully mobilized to get a $15 minimum wage passed, boosting incomes for 260,000 people.
Working-class, primarily African American, members in Philadelphia, dissatisfied with the underinvestment in neighborhood public schools and proliferation of for-profit charter schools, successfully challenged state control of schools. Now the local school board is imposing accountability on the entire system, including charter schools. The city now reports three consecutive years of rising graduation rates, with traditional public schools leading the pack.
Working America connects the dots for members and mobilizes them to demand government and corporate behavior that responds to them. The 2020 organizing efforts will set up even larger scale impacts on the ongoing challenges working-class people face.
ABOUT WORKING AMERICA
Since 2003, Working America has mobilized working people who don’t have the benefit of a union at work to fight for good jobs and a fair economy. As the 3.5-million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, we unite working people in urban and suburban communities around a shared economic agenda. For more information, visit www.WorkingAmerica.org.