In recent days and weeks, the term "town hall" has taken on a new meaning in American politics. Elected officials from all over the country are facing increasingly vocal constituents during town hall meetings, and in some cases, the crowds' passion and energy has gotten in the way of productive dialog. Of course, personal engagement with constituents is critical to a productive relationship between the Member and his/her community and traditional town hall meetings are an excellent way to connect. However, there are many other ways elected officials can forge strong relationships in their states and districts while maintaining control of their message. Telephone town halls are one of the most affordable, efficient and effective ways to connect personally with constituents. From the comfort of the office, the Member can conduct live streaming, moderated Q&A sessions broadcast over the phone, his/her website, Facebook, YouTube or all of the above. Click here to read about other ways to promote engagement during your event.
Making oneself visible, accessible and accountable is a big part of why personal connection with constituents is important, but what happens after the event is over? A non-partisan study done by the Congressional Management Foundation found that telephone town halls yield significant increases in constituents' perception of the Member's trustworthiness, accessibility, fairness and approval rating on specific issues:
- Prior to the telephone town hall meeting 38% of constituents trusted the Member to do the right thing "all or most of the time".
- After the meeting, 52% of attendees agreed with this statement.
- 82% of constituents who attended a telephone town hall meeting described the Member as "accessible".
- Only 48% of the control group, who did not attend a meeting, described the Member in this way.
- 82% of participants in the telephone town hall meeting said the Member was "fair".
- Just 52% of the control group agreed with the statement on fairness.
- Prior to the telephone town hall meeting only 20% of participants approved of the Member's handling of a specific issue.
- At the conclusion of the one-hour meeting, the same group reported 58% approval on the exact same issue.
What's a 38-point increase in approval ratings worth to you? Contact us today to get a quote for your next telephone town hall event!