icitizen is a nonpartisan, cost-effective polling solution to reach registered voters:
|Poll a representative sample of the U.S. population||Generate grassroots support for issue priorities||Influence policy debates and outcomes|
Insure Tennessee, a two-year pilot program, was proposed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in 2014. The legislation would provide health care coverage to more than 200,000 low-income Tennesseans who currently are not eligible for subsidies to insurance premiums and do not have access to health care, like the Affordable Care Act, due to cost (those earning above the subsidy threshold can spend up to 20 percent of their income on insurance premiums).
Since Insure Tennessee’s initial proposal, state lawmakers rejected the measure twice in 2015. Though there was no official movement on the legislation, many groups throughout Tennessee continued to express support of the bill, including liberal, conservative and business groups like the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Tennessee Business Coalition, Tennessee Justice Center, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and more.
But what about the public’s opinion? This is where icitizen came in.
Obtaining reliable and representative measures of constituent sentiment, typically via polls, is costly and time-consuming. This is because polls are traditionally conducted by phone using voter lists. Yet few people have a landline or answer their phone for surveys these days. Online polls are faster and cheaper, but it can be difficult to verify that the person taking the survey is actually a constituent.
There is a need – and opportunity – for a solution that delivers:
- A representative measure of public opinion
- Respondent selection at a hyper-local level
- Respondents that are voter-file verified constituents of the locality
- Polling availability via web and mobile
icitizen provided the polling services needed to inform the conversation. The information was subsequently presented by government officials to address Insure Tennessee, ultimately culminating in change for millions of state residents.
The poll questions were designed to directly gauge constituent sentiment on whether:
- Tennessee registered voters support or oppose Insure Tennessee
- Messages about the Affordable Care Act altered their opinions on the bill
|Statewide survey in TN||513 Registered Voters||April 1 – 4, 2016|
icitizen’s polling services involved a statewide survey including a representative sample of 513 registered voters in Tennessee. The poll ran from April 1 – 4, 2016. The survey was fielded online using opt-in sampling. The margin of error for the poll was +/- 4.3%.
- A two-page memo sent directly to Gov. Haslam and State Legislative Speaker Harwell’s offices detailing the poll results
- A press release and infographic featuring the poll results shared with 15 grassroots organizations that support or oppose Insure Tennessee, who then shared the data with their members and network
- A press release and infographic featuring poll results pitched to media outlets statewide
Top Poll Press Coverage:
- Tennessean – Poll: Most Tennesseans back Insure Tennessee
- Channel 5 News – Insure Tennessee Poll – Capitol View Commentary
- Johnson City Press – Hill named to health care access task force; Democratic opponent Fischman calls entity ‘a charade’
When given the right tools, citizens will rally around a cause they are passionate about. Registered voters across Tennessee made their voices count through icitizen, which accurately measured their sentiment on the issue to put it directly into the hands of the state’s elected leaders.
With this data at her fingertips and requests for action from advocacy groups, Speaker Harwell announced the creation of the 3-Star Healthy Project, a task force that will study ways to “improve access to care,” with the goal to find an alternative to Gov. Haslam’s proposal.
Closing the feedback loop between citizens and their representatives, while also raising awareness for this pressing community issue, shows how innovations in civic technology can amplify the voice of the people and change the advocacy landscape. Power is shifted from government officials to advocacy groups and then ultimately to individuals through access to data.
||Inaction that was once pinned on “lack of support” for Insure Tennessee was disproved through the data revealed in the icitizen poll, which showed a significant majority (78%) of Tennessee voters support the bill.|
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