Checkmate was hired by Rhode Island Citizens for Responsible Government to be their lead media consultant and strategist in their attempt to defeat a Constitutional Convention on the 2014 ballot. Six months before the election, a poll showed us losing by 40%. The odds were heavily against us.
While the poll showing us down by 40 points could have been very discouraging, it also showed us that when respondents were presented with certain facts about a Constitutional Convention, these numbers essentially flipped. After reviewing this polling data and conducting numerous focus groups with Rhode Island voters, we crafted our messages – and we never strayed from those messages. Using that data, we crafted multiple campaigns within the greater campaign – each with a different message for a different audience. Through partner organizations and free media, we started disseminating our message. We began our paid media campaign four weeks before the election by launching a four-pronged attack: online, radio, direct mail and outdoor.
On October 23, 2014 – 13 days before the election – Brown University released a poll of likely Rhode Island voters showing 42% in favor of a Constitutional Convention, 27% opposed, and 31% undecided. Despite being down 15 points with only 2 weeks to go, Rhode Islanders soundly rejected Question 3 on Election Day, by a margin of 55.1%-44.9%. We won every city and town in Rhode Island with the exception of Central Falls and East Greenwich.