STEVE
BESHEAR

Making a positive jobs argument in a tough economy
is challenging. It’s awfully hard to convince voters who
are living in a state of economic anxiety that things are
looking up, even if that may be the case statistically.
Voters experience the economy in very anecdotal ways; their
daughter can’t find a job or their brother lost his house.

Data can’t knock those points down. Real stories can.

Unseated Republican Governor
Ernie Fletcher by a whopping

59–41%

In 2007, The Strategy Group helped Steve
Beshear unseat Republican Governor Ernie
Fletcher by a whopping 59–41% in part by
demonstrating that Fletcher was too preoccupied
with his own problems, being investigated for
ethical lapses and patronage abuse.

THE GREAT

RECESSION

Like executives across the country, Beshear was then
faced with the great recession of 2008–2009. Job
loss was particularly acute in Kentucky. What’s more,
the EPA’s coal policy under President Obama further
challenged Kentucky’s economy and alienated national
Democrats, Eastern Kentucky in particular, creating
significant job loss.

Soon after in 2010, angry Kentuckians elected
Tea Party favorite Rand Paul to the U.S. Senate,
and Republicans had flipped governor’s mansion
in adjacent Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and in
coal-sensitive Pennsylvania as well.

President Obama’s numbers were bad.
Republican’s wanted to connect Beshear with the
president and hold him responsible for the bad
economy and high unemployment.

Republicans felt good about their chances in 2011.

Voters knew times were tough. Facing a strong
headwind in 2011, The Strategy Group helped
remind voters of Beshear’s roots, crafting a
message for Governor Beshear that emphasized what
they knew about him; integrity, straight talker, and
values that mirrored the majority of Kentucky voters
including evangelical and conservative voters.

We created separation from the president and the EPA by showing
how Governor Beshear sued the EPA over mining
permits, actually joining the local industry in federal court.

We used hyper-local economic
success stories to show that
even though times were hard,
Kentucky was making progress
by scoring little victories in
towns all across Kentucky.

INCREASING TURNOUT

Increasing Turnout

During the 2011 gubernatorial election, we conducted
one of the largest GOTV mail experiments to date.
Simple letters proved to be the most effective and
most cost-efficient method of increasing sporadic
likely supporter turnout in terms of cost per vote when
compared to standard postcards or postcards with
sticky reminder notes.

+5.3%

When coupled with a more traditional GOTV postcard
featuring a sticky-note reminder, turnout increased by
5.3 percentage points amongst sporadic voters.

A dogged attention to Eastern Kentucky in targeted
communication resulted in a big General Election
victory. Despite underperforming Democratic
Performance in our initial polling, we were able to
climb back to win Eastern Kentucky by 15% on Election
Day, and carried the state 61% to 38%.