Call for Action: Reform our tax code AND protect middle-class homeowners

November 3, 2015 General Election

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2015 General Election

The Texas Association of REALTORS®, in partnership with the National Association of REALTORS®, conducted a statewide campaign in support of Proposition 1 – a constitutional amendment that increased the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000 and banned real estate transfer taxes on all real estate sales. Expenditures for the campaign, including in-kind contributions, totaled $6.027 million.

On November 3, 2015, 86.38% of Texas voters approved Proposition 1.

Campaign summary

The campaign had several challenges, including a controversial local Proposition 1 in the Houston area. The Houston measure, along with a hotly contested mayoral race, contributed to a much larger-than-average turnout.

This campaign had multiple targets: Likely voters, all Texas REALTORS®, and current and aspiring homeowners.

When examining post-election numbers, it’s clear that the REALTOR®-facing campaign worked. Texas REALTORS® were three times more likely to vote than other registered voters.

Additionally, 82 percent of surveyed REALTORS® reported receiving communications from TAR about Prop 1. 

As for peer-to-peer communication, 52% of Texas REALTORS® said they heard something about Prop 1 from their broker, at their office, or from a colleague.

Texas REALTORS® also strongly supported the association’s effort.  After hearing the Prop 1 description, 90% favored the amendment and 90% said it was a good idea for TAR to be a leader in the effort and to have invested significant financial resources to secure passage (81 percent strongly feel that it was a good idea).

Here are some highlights of the public campaign:

This campaign began in early October on multiple fronts. The final universe was 812,000 voters in 627,000 households. The campaign did targeted and statewide television and radio. There were also 15 targeted mailers, totaling 3.74 million pieces of direct mail.

The online campaign was far-reaching and robust, using Facebook ads, static web ads, pre-roll video, online radio, and Spanish-language ads. More significantly, online targeting has gotten quite sophisticated … the campaign employed new technologies that use person-level matching (i.e. not cookies). In other words, the campaign followed the voter universe around the Internet, regardless of what device they were on.

Additionally, several local associations requested customized Prop 1 print ads which featured their name and logo.

Although there was a great deal of phone work on this campaign, the highlight was the well-attended tele town-hall with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

When it came to spreading the word, REALTORS® and local and state staff gave presentations, sat for radio or TV interviews, and used social media to encourage Texans to vote for Prop 1.

Survey results indicate excellent penetration and effectiveness of the messaging

  • 47 % recalled getting Prop 1 mail. 
  • 36 % remembered seeing the television ads
  • 23% heard a radio ad. 
  • 18% recalled online or Facebook ads
  • 70 % of those who saw communications said that what they saw or heard made them more likely to support Proposition 1
  • 41% much more likely to support Prop 1 as a result of the communication.

Finally, most voters (75%) did not make up their mind about Proposition 1 until October, which validates the team’s decision to run an intense, one-month public-facing campaign.

Passing Proposition 1 was a team effort and TAR is grateful for NAR’s partnership and the professionalism of the NAR Campaign Services Team, as well as our partners at SGS.