For both presidential and congressional campaigns, the first necessity is to gain the nomination of one of the two major parties: Democratic or Republican. Independent candidates and those from minor parties currently make up less than 1% of the House of Representatives. For certain congressional districts, in which the majority of voters have a clear affiliation, winning the party nomination may be more than half the battle. However, for more hotly contested seats and presidential campaigns, other factors are of great importance. The first is media coverage and public profile. The candidate needs a positive media image, but most media coverage is helpful unless it is overtly negative. The social media profile of the candidate is increasingly vital, since platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allow direct communication with voters.
Funding has historically been very important, but there are recent examples of well-funded presidential candidates, such as Jeb Bush, performing poorly at the polls. Direct communication via social media may have diminished the importance of funding. This sudden increase in direct messaging makes it necessary for candidates to be able to connect with voters and reflect their concerns. The impression of authenticity may, in fact, be created by extensive polling about what voters would like the candidate to say and how they prefer him or her to express these ideas. Detailed information about voters in the district or the country is therefore necessary, and this often requires extensive administrative and technical support from the party. Finally, a dedicated campaign team, with a diverse membership to reflect and connect with different demographics, is critical for the task of connecting with voters.