Trying to figure out the odds of winning a particular local election is smart practice before you decide to jump into a race (as we’ve mentioned before in our post about picking the easiest race to win). Far too many new candidates, though, start trying to make predictions about how likely they are to win their race as the political campaign unfolds, which is nothing but counterproductive and a waste of time.
The first step in mounting a successful political campaign is analyzing the race you are thinking of entering, looking at historical voting data, and determining the likelihood of success. If you determine that some elbow grease and shoe leather will give you a better than average chance of winning, then you enter the race. The time for election predictions is before you announce your candidacy, not during your political campaign.
Once you’ve fully committed yourself to a local campaign, the time for predictions, prognosticating and guessing is over.
As a potential candidate, you are allowed to weigh the likelihood of victory. As an actual candidate, though, your only concerns should be working hard, implementing your election plan, knocking on doors, making phone calls, raising money . . . everything that a winning campaign does.
Believe me, I know how easy it is to start second guessing yourself and your chances of winning once you’re in the thick of campaigning. Getting just one door slammed in your face during door-to-door canvassing can make you start to wonder if you’re really likely to win your race, after all. And that little kernel of doubt can sap your resolve and your productivity.
But don’t fall into the trap of re-visiting your election predictions and trying to analyze your chances of winning with every passing day. By over-analyzing the ever-changing dynamics of your political campaign, you’re only going to do one of two things: make yourself over confident, or demoralize yourself.
Instead, concentrate on the original political campaign game plan that you put in place before your launched your local election effort. Concern yourself with hitting all of your benchmarks on time: a thousand doors knocked on, a thousand phone calls made, a thousand hands shaken, a thousand dollars raised.
Once you’ve reached one goal, don’t stop and try to re-assess your chances of winning. Just focus on your next goal.
During the course of your political campaign, you will go from thinking that you are going to win, to thinking that you are going to lose, to thinking that you are going to lose again.
Rather than paying attention to those needling election predictions that pop up periodically in your mind, ignore them and concentrate instead on the only thing that will really win the race for you: hard work and good planning.