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Connecting over the phone is one of the most effective ways to engage a broad spectrum of constituents in meaningful dialogue. Recently, two of the prominent vendors supporting the U.S. House of Representatives, Leidos Digital Solutions and Broadnet, introduced Surveyor® – an innovative phone polling solution that integrates constituent poll data with Leidos’ IQ CRM software.

This state-of-the-art survey platform is propelling citizen engagement and transforming the way town halls are conducted. Surveyor provides elected officials cutting-edge insight into their constituents’ most pressing interests and concerns, while simultaneously scrubbing their phone data for bad numbers that drive up town hall costs.

House offices are seeing town hall participation up by nearly 20% and event costs down by as much as 10% after just one Surveyor deployment.

Using Surveyor, elected officials can create and send surveys to a broad constituent audience before spending funds on a telephone town hall event. This intuitive survey-building tool is configured to produce meaningful results with the ability to convert the data into charts and graphs for real-time, instant analysis. Best of all, the poll data can be readily imported into IQ for easy access when planning future events. Savvy communications directors are leveraging this information to target specific demographics and ensure that their Representatives are addressing the issues that most concern their constituents during each town hall.

Surveyor also flags phone numbers that trigger undeliverable calls, also known as operator intercepts. These numbers include disconnected, changed, unassigned, or Do-Not-Call numbers and represent sunk costs for offices at every event. By using Surveyor before conducting a town hall, communications staff are building final dial-out lists virtually free from these unreachable numbers. This saves taxpayer dollars by helping offices avoid paying for unnecessarily large dial out lists. The operator intercept data is also uploaded into IQ which reduces the amount of time staff spend scrubbing data and building town hall audiences.

Surveyor data can be used to measure trends in public opinion while dramatically reducing costs.

Even more importantly, Surveyor can also be employed to enrich elected officials’ understanding of voter sentiment and allow them to make decisions that truly represent their districts. Not only does this drive constituent satisfaction, but on a grander scale it inspires engaged citizens to exert more influence over public policy and empowers Representatives to be more responsive. More efficient spending also means that elected officials are able to host town halls more frequently and establish a robust ongoing dialogue with the people they serve.

Since it was introduced, Surveyor has been generating truly remarkable results. One Representative from North Carolina scheduled a Surveyor poll through Leidos before conducting a town hall event targeting nearly 100,000 constituents. The final operator intercept rate for the event was less than 5%, meaning the Representative was able to reach nearly 100% of their targeted constituents. The office was extremely pleased with their results from using Surveyor and will be employing the platform for subsequent town hall events.

A North Carolina Member office saw operator intecept levels below 5% after just a single Surveyor poll--saving potentially thousands of dollars in event costs.

Leidos offers Surveyor polling through its telephone town hall menu for a very low price. Put this low cost and highly effective strategy to work for your constituents.  Contact your Leidos sales representative, IQ consultant, or house.sales@leidos.com to schedule your Surveyor and town hall events today!

As most Capitol Hill professionals can attest, Congressional staffers are stretched pretty thin these days.  With today's 24/7 news cycle, seemingly constant international crises and partisan politics reaching fever pitch, there's plenty of work to go around in Congressional offices.  With that said, there are other factors that contribute to the heavy workloads on the Hill.  Staff turnover and stagnant pay has become a real problem in Congress and has led to a widening gap in institutional knowledge.  A study from the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) found that there are fewer House staff and fewer legislative support agency personnel now than at any time since 1979. The effect of this lack of support staff is felt most acutely in the staffs for the Congressional Research Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Congressional Budget Office who have lost 45% of their combined staff from 1975 to 2015.

The issue is exacerbated by the fact that on average each House member represents about 200,000 more constituents today than they did 30 years ago, while the average Senator represents 1.6 million more. 63% of the DC staffers polled by the CMF stated that they wanted to find another job, most often due to the fact that salaries have gone unchanged (and in some cases decreased) in the past two decades. With a competitive and thriving market for former Hill talent, staffers can easily find higher pay in the private sector. Because of this, the average age for a DC-based Hill staffer is only 31.  Fortunately, most professionals on the Hill are called to this line of work not because of the financial benefits, but due to the unique opportunity to make a true difference in the direction of the country.  In fact, 94% of Congressional staffers choose to stay in their jobs rather than test the private sector, “because they believe what they’re doing is meaningful”.

This gap in experience and education is making it more and more difficult for Members to get the information they need for important legislative actions like determining voting positions and drafting new bills. More and more Congressional offices are turning to lobbyists, interest groups and private sector resources for help, allowing these groups to exert a unique influence in the halls of Congress.  Most Members of Congress would probably agree that relying on outside experts for legislative guidance is not always ideal. 

Fortunately, there is an option to provide fair, accurate and unbiased data to Congress when staffers don't have the bandwidth or expertise. Quorum Analytics provides the world’s most comprehensive database of legislative information on an intuitive, web-based platform, allowing easy access to bills, votes, Tweets, Facebook posts, press releases, floor statements, hearing schedules and transcripts, committee reports, Dear Colleague letters, CRS reports and much more. Bill text comparison allows Congressional staff to effortlessly highlight additions, subtractions, and modifications to every bill so they never miss a thing as the bill makes its way to the floor.  Integrated Legislative outreach allows staffers to easily help the Member prepare for meetings and update colleagues, making it easier to find and share what’s most important.  Quantitative legislative targeting provides actionable insights to help you identify active Members, affected constituents and key relationships, providing you with key demographic data to allow you to make more informed legislative decisions.  With those available features and the fully functional mobile app, it’s never been easier to provide the best possible and most informed service for your constituents.

Leidos is pleased to be the exclusive reseller of Quorum Analytics on Capitol Hill and we'd love to provide a short demo to show you how Quorum Analytics can be your legislative team's best friend.  Contact us today with any questions or to schedule a demo.

On Monday, April 1st, President Trump signed a repeal of an Obama-era bill known as Section 222. Section 222 of the Communications Act was initially intended to create an affirmative right to privacy in our communications and was due to be in effect through 2017. In March of this year Congress enacted a rarely used procedural move known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to initiate a repeal. How does this affect you? Well, let’s start with the basics:

What is Internet Privacy?

Internet Privacy is your right or mandate to personal privacy of your information via the internet. This can involve browsing history, personal data, demographics, purchasing history and more. Today, Internet privacy has a different connotation than standard privacy concerns and typically pertains to user information. The 1997 Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF) defined information privacy as "an individual's claim to control the terms under which personal information--information identifiable to the individual--is acquired, disclosed, and used." At present, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are not required to obtain an individual’s consent before accessing and selling a user’s information.

What was the bill going to do?  What are the consequences of the repeal?

The new regulations under Section 222 would have required Internet Service Providers to receive consent from users before selling their information, protecting the individual’s privacy from telecommunications carriers with unique access to our communications and our personal information. These new regulations would have adapted Section 222 to apply to broadband companies in a way that, since the founding of the bill in 1996, they had not. The CRA repeal of these new regulations removes some restrictions on ISP’s access to information, and was clearly a priority for ISP companies, given that they spent nearly $8 million dollars lobbying Congress to pass the repeal. “Historically, regulations have treated data as the property of the consumer,” GeekWire wrote. Under the new bill, “it will be viewed more like the property of internet providers.” In theory, anyone from insurance companies, airlines, banks, and retailers to political parties or governments could buy data profiles of consumers. The CRA repeal also essentially hamstrung the previous regulations by including caveats to make it more difficult for the FCC to pursue similar regulations in the future.

But there are benefits to the repeal of Section 222. The proliferation of public information about users could make it easier for companies to more effectively reach their target audiences, cutting through bothersome, irrelevant ads and saving businesses millions in lost advertising dollars.  In theory, if advertisers can more effectively find their customers and spend less money doing so, prices could drop in a variety of industries, especially those with heavy eCommerce presences.  Also, the ability for ISPs to use consumer data could allow them to more evenly balance advertising and usage, allowing you more time surfing without being barraged with ads. 

However, in could be quite a while before we know the true effect of the repeal of Section 222.  In the two months since the repeal was signed, roughly a dozen state senators have taken up measures in enhance their state’s internet privacy laws and protect constituent’s privacy. Many Members of Congress have vocally protested the repeal and the issue is unlikely to die down anytime soon.  Stay tuned!