Obama Leading in the Polls? Perhaps it’s Due to Better MarketingNovember 4th, 2008 by Chris Herrick
First things first, no matter who you support, I hope all of you have either gone out to vote today, or are planning to go out to vote. Although I’m usually not this dedicated, I woke up at 6:30 this morning to try and make it to the polls by 7. I was hoping I might be able to get their before the crowds, but by the time I got there at 6:55, the line was already two blocks long. I’ve voted at the same polling station for over 10 years now, and I have to admit that I’ve never seen such an incredible turn out for any election thus far. It took me about an hour to make it through, which was actually less than what I originally thought, but glad I beat the long lines I know will be there later this evening.
Anyway, while I was waiting in line, I thought a lot about why this election seems to have invigorated so many more people than other elections. Much has been made of the negative attack ads aired by both candidates and parties over recent weeks, but I would prefer to believe that both candidates did a better job of marketing their campaign messages. We’ve all seen the TV spots and newspaper ads, but this election has marked a departure from the “typical” campaign advertisements and a new push into uncharted marketing territory – especially a push to attract younger voters.
Senator Obama has clearly led in his push to offer new and alternative ways to reach audiences. Much has been made of the money he spent on video game advertising (Obama Ad Campaign Targets Video Games) to attract 18-24 yr old voters, but I tend to think it’s the breadth of channels he’s using that has helped him the most with this audience, rather than his focus on any one medium. Beyond video games, he’s also made use of text messaging (SMS), social media (Facebook is one of over 15 social networks he’s on), online video spots (Hulu.com, YouTube), and, closest to my heart, targeted email advertising. Obama has had great success using his “Be the First to Know” emails that give supporters a unique experience for signing up for email messages. To be fair, McCain has followed suit in most cases. He too has a Facebook page, has embraced email, and has had success with a series of videos he put on YouTube, but I think it’s fair to say that McCain has been a fast follower in this regard.
How well has Obama’s strategy worked? Well, preliminary results suggest that Obama has cemented his lead with younger audiences. An LA Times poll this morning (Final numbers: Most accurate ‘04 poll says Obama over McCain by 7%) put that number at around 56% for Obama and 31% for McCain – an impressive number, although McCain faced an uphill battle with this demographic, so it’s hard to say how much headway he’s made in this category as well. The more important question is, will it matter? Hard to say right now, but we’ll certainly know in less than 24 hours.
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