Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Physician attitudes toward politics, PACs and politicians

In the survey below you get a sense of the cynicism, doubt and discouragement many people feel about our political system. In my own focus group research I found a lot of the same feelings with one important distinction: the people expressing this kind of non specific negativity are usually people who don't know a politician personally, haven't been active lobbying for their association and haven't communicated meaningfully with a politician. People who have gotten engaged in politics, even though they didn't get what they wanted, often feel very positive about the process and politicians.

A parallel finding is that most people get most of their information about politics and politicians through the news media. Most of that information is about campaigns, which are by nature negative, confrontational and contentious and that turns off many people.

To activate volunteer advocates, help them understand the difference between campaigns (before election day) and lobbying (after election day).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

When a politician says no...

Mostly when you meet in person, even if they know the answer will be no, they will demur. The don't like face-to-face nos.
But later they will send a letter or make a phone call and say they can't support you in what you want.
They may give a reason such as, "leadership is against this and I can't oppose them."
You can explore their reasoning by asking this question in these exact words:
"You must have some reason for feeling that way, can you tell me what it is?"
Then, and this is important, resolve to find something you can get a "yes" on; you don't want to leave on a "no."
It may be as simple as "I understand you can't help us now, can we send you some more information in hopes of changing your mind?"
Always leave on a positive note.