A Glossary for Opposition Research


Hit piece: A negative news release, published story or verbal information meant to smear a candidate's credibility or kill their election bid.

Legs: What a major story possesses that enables it to be carried in various media markets over an extended period of time.

Oppo work: The exhaustive practice of digging through a candidate's public records, prior statements and voting history in an effort to ferret out inconsistencies, lies or embarrassing information.

Rapid response: The ability to quickly react to a breaking news story that may or may not jeopardize your candidate. Political operative James Carville made popular this terminology.

Self-book: A detailed investigation a campaign launches into its own candidate's background in an effort to uncover forgotten incidents for rapid response purposes, as well as recap accomplishments. If an embarrassing event should surface, a self-book partly guarantees the candidate and senior staff will not be taken by surprise.

Votes and quotes: The core of modern opposition research, centered on a candidate's voting record and public statements.

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