The HOPE not hate campaign is already well under way in the east London constituency of Dagenham & Rainham.
The site of our huge campaign in 2010, Dagenham & Rainham is again in the front line of our 2017 campaign.
Our campaign team is already delivering targeted leaflets and letters to different parts of the constituency. In fact, 16 different pieces of literature are set to be distributed in our four-week campaign, with most voters receiving several different ‘touches’ from us.
There will be general anti-UKIP leaflets focusing on its lack of any real answers for the problems of local people; there will be hand-delivered letters and leaflets to the constituency’s 16,000 black and Asian voters; and there will also be more positive Get Out The Vote messages to the residents of the 3,100 more socially liberal households that we have identified in the constituency.
We will also be localising the campaign, so tapping into local issues and areas of concern. In parts of Dagenham, we will contrast the very real funding pressures many schools are facing and contrasting that with UKIP’s support for further public sector cuts and the reinstatement of Grammar schools. In the Rainham part of the constituency, we are focusing on UKIP’s silence on the building of 30,000 new homes.
In both cases, we contrast UKIP’s inability to provide answers to the very genuine concerns of local people with the party’s obsession with cultural and racial issues.
The key to any successful campaign is identifying the target audience, clarity of message, repeating the message and the number of contacts with your audience.
It is our intention that each voter in Dagenham & Rainham should receive at least four leaflets or letters between now and the election. This will be backed up by a hyper-targeted Facebook campaign in which we expect our target audience to see our tailored messages at least three times.
We will be basing our Dagenham & Rainham campaign on research provided to HOPE not hate by the research company Populus, who we commissioned to identify the profile of voter most likely to be attracted by a far right message.
Only the Conservative Party will have more advanced data than HOPE not hate possesses.
Populus has developed a model for mapping the political landscape based on demographic, consumer and political data – the political ClockFace.
The ClockFace enables us to profile the likely inclinations of different types of voters based on their demographic attributes. We can then plot every single postcode area on the ClockFace. A typical parliamentary constituency has 2,500-3,500 postcodes (with roughly 15-20 houses in each) and our data will be able to place every single one on our Political ClockFace.
Analysis of political and demographic data has revealed that the traditional conception of British politics as a spectrum across a single dimension no longer holds. The ClockFace model has determined that there are two dimensions: security and diversity. Plotting demography and political parties on these dimensions provides a compelling, evidence-based picture of contemporary politics.
With the target areas determined, we will then be able to prioritise within the list by developing a method of measuring the far right ‘risk’ in each area. This will be a combination of two factors: first, far right propensity, i.e. the likelihood that the voter types in that area will be inclined towards far-right attitudes and behaviours; second proximity, i.e. the juxtaposition of far right propensity and the ethno- cultural diversity that provides the necessary conditions for flashpoints.
Armed with this data, HOPE not hate can deploy a range of resources in each seat, including leaflets, individually addressed letters and hyper-targeted Facebook advertising.
Our core work will be targeting the core UKIP voters, who occupy the 4.30-7.30pm spectrum on our ClockFace.
In 2010, the UKIP voter was more generally found at 3pm on our political ClockFace, in close proximity to the Conservative voter. By 2015, the UKIP voter was to found at 4.30pm, much more into traditional skilled and semi-skilled white working class territory. By 2017, as the Conservatives had taken over much of the Brexit-supporting voter, the UKIP voter was more likely to be found between 4.30-6pm – right into the heart of Labour territory.
It is our estimation that the UKIP vote of 2017 will be very similar to the BNP vote of 2010 – both in outlook and size.
The segment of voters in the 4.30-7.30pm segment are the most economically insecure and pessimistic, so our campaign focus is to highlight that UKIP does not have the answers to the real issues facing these voters who. We will counterpose UKIP’s silence on core issues like standard of living, stagnating wages and cuts to public services with their obsession with banning the burqa, FGM inspections, fox hunting and immigration.
We are producing a range of leaflets and postcards around this theme and this will be complemented by our Facebook campaign.
In addition to targeting the core UKIP voter, we will also be addressing more affluent social liberals with a turnout message. These voters, found between 9-12pm on our political clock, are more affluent, University-educated, economically secure and more liberal in their outlook. Some will be Labour voters, while others will be Lib Dems, Greens and – as we move closer to 12pm – moderate Conservatives. These voters were at the core of the Remain vote in last year’s Referendum vote and would be naturally opposed to UKIP’s increasingly hardline anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
There tends only to be small pockets of these social liberal voters in our target constituencies, though in Stoke-on-Trent Central and Rotherham they are represented in significant numbers.
Our ground campaign will be complemented a sophisticated and hyper-targeted Facebook campaign. Our strategy will give our campaign messages high visibility amongst voters in our key areas and as the message/brand recognition is seen more frequently it will be understood better by voters.
Facebook allows us to target voters by postcode so we will be able to use the Populus data to put different messages into different areas of our constituencies.
Additionally, a good Facebook campaign allows voters and supporters to interact with us via click throughs and sharing content. We will also use Facebook to build events.
We are complementing and bolstering our online message by a series of short videos that we are producing throughout the campaign.
Our overall objective is to suppress the UKIP vote and persuade the potential UKIP voter that the party does not have answers to their real problems. While UKIP will not win any seats in this election and its national polls numbers are in free fall, it still retains significant support in small pockets of the country.
And, if our prediction that Brexit will not deliver economic prosperity and a sharp reduction in immigration that the bulk of working class people who voted to leave wanted, then we are likely to see a resurgence in support for UKIP or some similar right wing populist party in the next few years. Driving UKIP’s support down now and demoralising its activists has to be our key objective.
However, testing out these new campaign techniques and sophisticated and targeted campaigning will also put us in good shape for the future.
A HARD SLOG
Back on the streets of Dagenham & Rainham, our team are under no illusions about the scale of the task. Whilst UKIP’s support has evaporated in many parts of the country it remains strong and incredibly hard line here. The latest polling puts UKIP on 21% of the vote, down from 28% in 2015, a much smaller decline than in most parts of the country.
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