Deeper Look at Scores and Universes

Deeper Look at Scores and Universes

💯 Scores

Scores are predictions of individual voter behavior. Scores are numbers between 0 and 1 given to each person that represent probabilities of a behavior. For example, if we were to gather all of the voters that had a turnout score of .8 in 2020 we would expect to find that 80% of that group actually voted on election day in 2020.

Deck’s scores are based upon the huge troves of data that Deck has collected about the upcoming election and those in the past. The scores that Deck creates are most notably different from the standard scores because all of our scores are personalized — i.e., specific to your campaign and district — and they do not rely on surveys. Any score that you have through Deck will be these personalized scores.

What are Support Scores?

Support scores are the likelihood that a voter will support Democrats or a specific candidate. Most candidates will have access to at least one generic support score. The question that a generic support score is answering is “how likely is this voter to vote for a Democrat?” The support score that you get from Deck is answering the question “how likely is this voter to vote for you?”

What is a Partisan Elasticity Score?

This is the likelihood that a voter will vote for a different party than they did in the last election. The partisan elasticity score is answering the question “how likely is this voter to vote for a different party than they voted for last time?” This score will help build a more effective persuasion universe. Most candidates do not have access to a partisan elasticity score.

What is a Turnout Score?

A turnout score is the likelihood that a voter will vote in the election. General turnout scores answer the question “how likely is this voter to vote in this election?” The turnout scores at Deck are answering the question more specifically: “how likely is this voter to vote in this election given all of the candidates on the ballot?”

What is a Contributor Score?

This is the likelihood that a voter will donate to your campaign. This is a fairly unique score to Deck since it is built off of the voter file and most fundraising lists are not built off of the voter file. The question that this score is asking is “will this voter donate to your campaign?”

🪐 Building Universes

First, what is a universe in a campaign context? A universe is a subset of voters from your district that you want to target with a specific message. The most common types of universes are turnout and persuasion. You might have more universes such as fundraising, volunteer recruitment and turnout based on method (eg. voting by mail, early in-person voting and day of voting).

By having several scores for every person in your district it allows you to quickly and easily build universes of different groups of people you may want to target with specific tactics and messages, based on their score combinations. In each universe section, we will cover what those score combinations are! You'll notice that we won't rely heavily on giving you a specific number in these examples because it varies by campaign what that cut off is and we value making sure that our users understand what the data is saying and not just knowing a number.

Universes are critical for campaigns because they will help you allocate your resources effectively. Every voter in your district should not get the same message and you likely do not have the resources to contact each voter in your district. Some campaigns in smaller districts feel the desire to try to contact every voter in their district. However, Deck advises against this method because it will limit your ability to specifically target the right voters with the right message. Contacting every voter once won’t help you if you have a group of voters who need multiple contacts to turnout or to persuade.

Persuasion Universe

In your persuasion universe, you want voters who do not already support you but will be open to both your message and changing their mind. You do not want your biggest supporters or your biggest opponents to be in this universe.

At Deck, we create your persuasion universe using multiple custom scores for your campaign. We are selecting people:

  • Who have some change of changing their minds using the partisan elasticity score built for your district
  • For whom we are unsure if they will support your campaign using the custom support score for your candidate
  • Who are likely to vote using the unique turnout score for your district.

Volunteer Recruitment Universe

Organizing is hard work. When asking your supporters to volunteer for you, you want to make sure that all you have to ask is if they are able to volunteer. Persuasion should not be in volunteer recruitment calls.

The volunteer recruitment universe will include people:

  • Who are likely to support you using the custom support score
  • Who are likely to vote for you given your district specific turnout score.

Turnout Universe

Turnout is critical to success for many campaigns. However, you want to turn out the “right” voters. As Democrats who believe in voting rights and pushing for higher overall voter turnout, it is important in the context of your campaign to stay focused on turning out your supporters and let the soft side work on getting overall turnout higher.

The turnout universe will include folks:

  • Who are likely to support you using the custom support score
  • Who it is unclear if they will vote using the custom turnout score

As we get closer to GOTV, there will be more granularity to GOTV universes ,including but not limited to breakdowns based on voting type such as absentee voting, early in-person voting or day of voting.

Registration Universe

A component of most campaigns is registering folks to vote who might be likely to support you. These voters can range from first time voters to folks who are simply updating their registration. The registration universe will include unregistered voters who have some chance of supporting you.

It is important to note that this universe might be harder to work with than all of the others. Registration targets will not be able to be exported to VAN because the data in VAN is taken from the voter file. Thus, unregistered voters would not be in VAN.

Fundraising Universe

Raising money is critical to running a campaign. Similarly to volunteer recruitment, it can be a tough ask. So, we want to make sure that you are talking to people who are likely to donate to your campaign.

The fundraising universe that Deck has created for you are people who:

  • Are likely to support you using the custom support score
  • Have a good chance of donating to your campaign given the custom contributor likelihood score

One thing to note about Deck’s fundraising targets is that they will all be within your district. It is very common for candidates to fundraise outside of their district and not rely on the voter file for their fundraising lists. Thus, this universe from Deck could be fairly unique from any other fundraising list you have. If you'd like to get a fundraising universe outside of your district, let us know at and we will make that list for you!

Want to get started with Deck? Schedule a time to talk with us here or email us at!