Type to search

A New Approach to Understanding and Communicating With American Voters

After the 2016 election, we undertook an ambitious research project to examine Americans’ core beliefs across the full political spectrum. That work led to a new view of the public, clustered into nine segments around people’s values rather than their demographics or voting behaviors.

To deepen our understanding of these audiences, we worked with creators from advocacy, marketing, and media to produce dozens of social media-optimized videos that represented a wide variety of progressive messages. We then distributed these videos with scientific rigor on social media and measured the impact of the messages across a wide variety of audiences using innovative digital testing tools.

The result is a new way to use 21st-century tools to understand, identify, and listen to audiences across our society. We don’t believe in a single message or process — but we’ve tried to share our data and demonstrate a set of methods that, together, may illuminate the path forward.

In advance of the 2020 cycle, Catalist expanded the project by rebuilding the model, including new survey questions about religious tolerance and respondents’ beliefs about their personal efficacy, which is to say, their ability to change their economic and social outcomes by their own actions. These additions have further refined our picture of the American electorate.