Representative Mark Finchem Leverages the Power of Public Opinion
|Poll a representative sample of the U.S. population||Generate grassroots support for issue priorities||Gauge voter sentiment on legislative initiatives|
Arizona Split on Authority over Minimum Wage & Benefits
In Arizona, there is an ongoing debate about local rights to affect minimum wage and benefits, like paid time off and family leave. There are two sides battling over whether or not municipalities have the right to raise the minimum wage without the oversight of the state government.
Although several advocacy groups have come forward for either side of this issue, there has been no accurate measure of the public’s opinion.
There is a need in the market for a nonpartisan solution that delivers:
- A representative measure of public opinion
- Polling availability via mobile
- A way to easily raise awareness for community issues
Reliable and representative measures of constituent sentiment are hard to come by. Typically conducted via polls, these methods are costly and time-consuming. Since polls are traditionally conducted by phone using voter lists, few people have a landline or answer their phone for surveys nowadays. Online polls are more cost-efficient and quicker, yet it can be difficult to confirm that the person taking the survey is actually a voter.
icitizen Informs Conversation around Debated Issue
icitizen provided the information needed to help elected officials seize the narrative of the debate.
Arizona House Representative Mark Finchem (R-11) created an issue card in the icitizen app to gauge user support or opposition on whether local governments should have a hand in setting private company compensation and wages. He used this opportunity to “educate” constituents and condense a complex issue into a digestible format. The issue card gained more than 1,100 supporters who agreed that they should not.
He also sponsored a poll in the icitizen app that covered the same topic, which showed that 66% of icitizen users believe private companies should have the ability to set wages and benefits.
The in-app poll was conducted among 950 people from March 14 – April 17, 2016 and weighted the results to the U.S. Census benchmarks, providing a more representative view of public opinion. The margin of error for the poll was +/- 3.1%.
Rep. Finchem presented the results found through icitizen to the Arizona caucus before he plans to propose legislation in his district in the Fall 2016.
The icitizen team provided a “campaign in a box” that included:
|Two-page memo sent directly to Rep. Mark Finchem’s office detailing poll results||An infographic of his issue card results||An infographic featuring the poll results, which was presented to the Arizona caucus|
Civic Technology Streamlines Citizen Engagement
Rep. Finchem shows how innovations in civic engagement technology can easily close the feedback loop and strengthen the relationship between elected officials and their constituents.
The political process is democratized, and legislators like Rep. Finchem can propose bills with the sound knowledge that they are accurately representing the best interests of the people they represent.
“Seeing such support among icitizen users that private companies should have the authority to set wages and benefits affirms the legislation I am planning to propose later this year. Having data supporting this measure on such a hot-topic issue will help pass this bill, knowing that it represents the interests of our constituents.”
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