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A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making progress within a specific group. In democracies, political campaigns often refer to electoral campaigns, by which representatives are chosen or referendums are decided. In modern politics, the most high-profile political campaigns are focused on general elections and candidates for head of state or head of government, often a president or prime minister.

Campaign message

Election campaign in East Timor: Truck Rally

The message of the campaign contains the ideas that the candidate wants to share with the voters. It is to get those who agree with their ideas to support them when running for a political position. The message often consists of several talking points about policy issues. The points summarize the main ideas of the campaign and are repeated frequently in order to create a lasting impression with the voters. In many elections, the opposition party will try to get the candidate "off message" by bringing up policy or personal questions that are not related to the talking points. Most campaigns prefer to keep the message broad in order to attract the most potential voters. A message that is too narrow can alienate voters or slow the candidate down with explaining details. For example, in the 2008 American presidential election John McCain originally used a message that focused on his patriotism and political experience: "Country First"; later the message was changed to shift attention to his role as "The Original Maverick" within the political establishment. Barack Obama ran on a consistent, simple message of "change" throughout his campaign.

Campaign finance

Fundraising techniques include having the candidate call or meet with large donors, sending direct mail pleas to small donors, and courting interest groups who could end up spending millions on the race if it is significant to their interests.

Organization

In a modern political campaign, the campaign organization (or "machine") will have a coherent structure of personnel in the same manner as any business of similar size.

Campaign manager

Successful campaigns usually require a campaign manager to coordinate the campaign's operations. Apart from a candidate, they are often a campaign's most visible leader. Modern campaign managers may be concerned with executing strategy rather than setting it - particularly if the senior strategists are typically outside political consultants such as primarily pollsters and media consultants.

Political consultants

Political consultants advise campaigns on virtually all of their activities, from research to field strategy. Consultants conduct candidate research, voter research, and opposition research for their clients.

Activists

Activists are the "foot soldiers" loyal to the cause, the true believers who will carry the run by v

The message of the campaign contains the ideas that the candidate wants to share with the voters. It is to get those who agree with their ideas to support them when running for a political position. The message often consists of several talking points about policy issues. The points summarize the main ideas of the campaign and are repeated frequently in order to create a lasting impression with the voters. In many elections, the opposition party will try to get the candidate "off message" by bringing up policy or personal questions that are not related to the talking points. Most campaigns prefer to keep the message broad in order to attract the most potential voters. A message that is too narrow can alienate voters or slow the candidate down with explaining details. For example, in the 2008 American presidential election John McCain originally used a message that focused on his patriotism and political experience: "Country First"; later the message was changed to shift attention to his role as "The Original Maverick" within the political establishment. Barack Obama ran on a consistent, simple message of "change" throughout his campaign.

Campaign finance

Fundraising techniques include having the candidate call or meet with large donors, sending direct mail pleas to small donors, and courting interest groups who could end up spending millions on the race if it is significant to their interests.

Organization

In a modern political campaign, the campaign organization (or "machine") will have a coherent structure of personnel in the same manner as any business of similar size.

Campaign manager

Successful campaigns usually require a campaign manager to coordinate the campaign's operations. Apart from a candidate, they are often a campaign's most visible leader. Modern campaign managers may be concerned with executing strategy rather than setting it - particularly if the senior strategists are typically outside political consultants such as primarily pollsters and media consultants.

Political consultants

Political consultants advise campaigns on virtually all of their activities, from research to field strategy. Consultants conduct candidate research, voter research, and opposition research for their clients.

Activists

Activists are the "foot soldiers" loyal to the cause, the true believers who will carry the run by volunteer activists. Such volunteers and interns may take part in activities such as canvassing door-to-door and making phone calls on behalf of the campaigns.

Techniques

Democrat John Edwards makes a campaign speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2007.

A campaign team (which may be as small as one inspired individual, or a heavily resourced group of professionals) must consider how to communicate the message of the campaign, recruit volunteers, and raise money. Campaign advertising draws on techniques from commercial advertising and propaganda, also entertainment and public relations, a mixture dubbed politainment. The avenues available to political campaigns when distributing their messages is limited by the law, available resources, and the imagination of the campaigns' participants. These techniques are often combined into a formal strategy known as the campaign plan. The plan takes account of a campaign's goal, message, target audience, and resources available. The campaign will typically seek to identify supporters at the same time as getting its message across. The modern, open campaign method was pioneered by Aaron Burr during the American presidential election of 1800.[1][2][3]

Campaign communication

Election campaign communication refers to party-controlled communication, e.g. campaign advertising, and party-uncont

Fundraising techniques include having the candidate call or meet with large donors, sending direct mail pleas to small donors, and courting interest groups who could end up spending millions on the race if it is significant to their interests.

Organization