What’s your WIN number?

Your WIN number is the number of votes required to win your district which will, of course be 50%+1 of the number of voters turning out to vote in your election.

How will you know how many voters will vote if they haven’t even voted yet!? Calculating a win number is both a science and an art.

Your state’s Secretary of State will have vote totals from previous elections for the specific office you are running for. Take a look at the last four races and consider these factors:

  • What was the turnout? Note that the number of voters varies between an election year and an off year. Also notice that fewer progresives vote in the off years.
  • Do you know how the candidates and incumbents campaigned? Did their efforts impact turnout? Was there an independent who received a few percent of the vote? Was there large voter registration drive from a presidential campaign?
  • Has the incumbent been in office a long time? Have they had an increasing number of votes over that time, or is the number stagnant or even falling off?
  • Do you have a progressive-leaning constituency in your district that can be cultivated that hasn’t been in previous elections? Do you have the means to tap into that?
  • Have the demographics of your area changed?
  • Do you have a large percentage of college students or graduating seniors who’ll be going out of district to college?
  • There is demographic information available from other sources that can be looked at. Be creative, and get digging -the better you know your district the better your win number calculation will be.
  • If you’re running in a state race, your party’s Caucus can help you develop your win number. But you’ll get further if you come in with your own starting calculations.

What do I do with the Win Number?

Knowing your win number helps track your efforts during the campaign. Knowing the factors that got you to that number will help if a factor changes significantly during the campaign.

Lastly you’ll be asked for this number when you’re talking with big donors and endorsing organizations. Delegates and donors like to support candidates who do their homework!


Thanks to Deb Pitzrick for her insight on win numbers!