Tag Archives: Presidential Election

May the Best Marketer Win: Strategies from the 2016 Election

The next president of America has been declared, but conversations are still circulating regarding the campaign. Donald J. Trump’s unpredictability and lack of “political correctness” drew a lot of attention during the election. While, Hillary Clinton past infractions seem to never diminish. Despite, the question that has been centripetal in these conversations is how did a billionaire businessman with no previous political experience win the presidency? One answer – the best marketing team won.

A successful campaign is a reflection of in-depth market research and strategy. The candidates enact the same business plan as companies use to sell a product, except they are selling hope. Candidates must address the audience’s mindset with the perfect mix of logic, emotion, and empathy for the audience to believe in them. The candidate then must find the perfect strategy to deliver this message to the public. However during the 2016 presidential election, candidates utilized a mixture of traditional and non-traditional marketing strategies.

Both of candidates started their campaign in traditional manner by selecting a campaign slogan, but these slogans struck very different tenures with the American people. Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again,” was controversial but catchy. His slogan set the tone for the rest of his campaign, as he mentioned repealing some historical proceedings such as Roe v. Wade. This appealed to his followers who believe America was better before these preceding. Trump’s slogan also subtly alluded to returning to Republican authority after eight years of a Democratic president.  Whereas as Hilary’s slogan “I’m with Her” represented a historical event were women and men across the country vowed to elect the first female president. Clinton established an emotional appeal through her slogan, that continued through her campaign. She continued to gain her followers through emotionally charged video on her social media channels addressing verbal attacks on women. This video emphasized her goals of gender equality and “breaking the glass ceiling” for women in politics.  

Clinton and Trump both attempted to attract followers through personalized and unique approaches on social media platforms. Nowadays nothing sells without a social media footprint and political campaigns are not exempted. Hillary Clinton used multiple platforms to expand her audience. She used Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest, which were not popular platforms for the Trump campaign camp. The Clinton campaign wanted to build a personal connection with their audience by sharing everyday images such as Clinton’s family photos and videos from Clinton’s campaign headquarters. This tactic was used to increase Clinton’s relatability with the public, which is a traditional approach.  In contrast, Trump was not focused on making an emotional connection with the public, but instead using his business skills to present an improvement plan to the American people. Trump’s marketing strategy was rooted in the “any publicity is good publicity” principle. This is apparent in his perfectly timed controversial Twitter posts, which were  then disseminated on other media outlets. Whether negative or positive, this drew attention back to Trump. Trump harnessed this energy and made both the public and the media focus on these moments more than his political stance.

Another marketing strategy that both candidates used was endorsements. Since Hillary Clinton had political experience, she took a traditional route and enlisted multiple celebrity endorsements. Hillary Clinton brought along pop stars such Katy Perry and Beyonce to perform for her rallies and attract the youth vote. She interviewed multiple times on the infamously candid radio show The Breakfast Club to increase her popularity in the African American community. Clinton even earned an endorsement that aired on prime time Thursday night television from executive television producer Shonda Rhimes. However, Donald Trump’s campaign took a  different route. He needed powerful political figures and business professionals to support him because he lacked political experience. Clinton wanted to appeal through popularity, while Trump needed powerful representatives to ease any concerns about his lack of experience. His endorsements from Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich were pivotal in Trump’s campaign because it illustrated that seasoned political figures would support the non-traditional candidate.

Ultimately, Hillary Clinton’s traditional campaign route did not supersede Trump’s fiery message of “Make America Great Again.” Trump was able to successfully divert the media and public attention to himself through his marketing methods, which encouraged constant conversation about his latest tweet or speech. Trump’s success also illustrated that the American people have grown accustomed to tradition. In order to gather their vote, candidates must find a way to stand out from the crowd. In four more years this campaign will be far behind the American people, but we may see a new era in marketing strategies inspired by it.

 

Whose Poll is Right?

 

As the presidential race draws to a close, there are numerous polls from diverse sources available to the public.  However, there is a lack of consistency between many of the polls. Is Hillary up by 3 points in Florida or is Trump up by 2 points?  Whose poll is right and whose is wrong?  Like many questions in politics, it depends.

All political polls are based upon some assumptions about who is actually going to vote.  This is called a model of the electorate. Having a correct or incorrect model will determine how accurately a poll will predict the outcome.  Social scientists who argue for a pure random sample can really mispredict an election if they do not take into consideration data collection methodologies. One example is the recent U.S.C. Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak poll, which has been getting a lot of slack by pollsters, due to its outlying poll results. Some make the argument on how the data was weighted; others blame a 19 year-old Trump supporter for skewing the poll results. While those are both legitimate points and probably contributed to the skewed poll result, sample and data collection probably played an even more significant role in this issue.

Dr. Jim Kitchens, a research practitioner with over 30 years experience in political polling suggests that “ Weighting works as well as setting quotas, within a reasonable limit. If the sampling source (list, panel, etc.) is good, you should be close to your quotas and it may require some weighting.” In other words, weighting alone is not the issue nor is that 19 year-old Trump supporter. By applying quotas in the sample, this would ensure that enough Republicans and Democrats were represented. Thus, minimizing the risk of working with a toxic sample.

The Romney campaign failed to call Ohio (the entire 2012 election for that matter) correctly because they were dependent upon telephone-based data collection.  Even merging in cell phones, this methodology will skew a sample toward older voters, white voters, and Republicans. They assumed many of the younger voters and minority voters who supported President Obama in 2008 were not going to vote because they did not find them on the telephone. This was a mistaken assumption. However, if a pure random sample is taken from an internet panel, it may skew the sample toward younger people. This, again, boils down to data collection and sample.

The key is to set quotas from two or three critical groups based upon past elections of a similar nature. The most critical factors for politics are party affiliation, race, age, and gender.  According to Dr. Kitchens, “there are two ways to construct a model: (1) quotas during the data collection or (2) mathematical weighting based upon the assumed turnout.  Either method is methodologically sound and will work.”

The problem for political polls is that no one knows whose model is right until the election is over.  Even Nate Silver, who is regarded as a god among pollsters now because he accurately predicted the winner in the 2012 Presidential election for every 50 states, including the District of Columbia, has had his critics.

This year, several assumption pollsters have to consider include:

Will the minority voters turn out for Hillary Clinton at the sample level they turned out for Barack Obama?

Will Donald Trump be perceived in such a negative way by Republican women that they will either vote for Hillary Clinton or stay home?

With both candidates having a majority of voters view them unfavorably, will turnout among all voters decline?  Low turnout usually means an older, more conservative electorate.

Will the outrage from Hispanic leaders toward Donald Trump actually drive a significant percentage of new Hispanic voters into the electorate?

Every poll has to be built upon the assumed correct answer to these questions.  So, it will be election day before the argument about whose polls are correct can be answered.

While we may not know whose poll is right or wrong until after the 2016 Presidential Election, I’m sure Mitt Romney would agree with the following statement: Get your sample and data collection methodology right!

2016 Presidential Election Infographic

 

American voters are heading to the polls in November to determine for the 58th time their country’s president for the next 4 years. While presidential elections are known to provide good theatre, the 2016 Presidential Election has been filled with some interesting twists and turns, and is undoubtedly one for the ages. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, whose loose cannon speaking style has created a firestorm even among his own party, is viewed as a social media scandal machine. On the other side, we have Hillary Clinton, a former First Lady, Senator of New York and most recently Secretary of State, who simply can’t seem to shake some of her old ghosts – email issues, wall street and even issues with her own foundation. With less than 5 weeks left before the general election, these two candidates are keeping voters on the edge of their seats.

In order to gauge the pulse of American voters heading into the general election, we conducted two surveys to compare how the opinion of the general US population differs from those in a battle ground state like Florida. The surveys were conducted using qSample’s likely voter panels. More than 450 respondents participated in each survey, with an even split on party affiliation. The data gathered has provided critical insight regarding where voters stand on various issues, when it comes to these two candidates.

The data reveals that despite lack of experience and a series of faux pas made in his presidential campaign, Florida voters are leaning towards Trump (50%-38%) in this upcoming election. However, Secretary Clinton is holding on to a slight lead among the general US population (41%-37%). The data also shows that more than 20% of respondents cited patriotism as the reason they would vote for Trump. While Floridian voters think Trump cares more about the country than Clinton, they also indicated that she has better economic and foreign policy experience than Trump (17%). When comparing the data, both audiences seem to agree on this point – Clinton has more political experience, whereas Trump seems to care more about the country.

Voters from both panels were asked which candidate they feel is more qualified to be president and their feelings on the current state of the country. Florida voters indicated that Trump is as qualified to be president, with both candidates splitting the votes at 42%. This number is not surprising, since Floridians typically vote Republican in general elections. On the flip side, general US voters give Clinton the nod as most qualified to be president by 44%.-37%. Roughly 40% of US respondents indicated that the country is heading in the right direction or about the same direction. Despite a strong job market, universal healthcare and a strong economic recovery, a large portion of the respondents (58%) indicated that the country is not heading in the right direction.

When it comes to how respondents stay up to speed with this year’s election, both panels indicated that they follow the presidential election mainly via television (38%). Print media is not yet dead, at least for presidential elections. More than 21% of respondents in our survey indicated that they follow the election by reading newspapers, followed by social media outlets.

If the trend from 2012 continues, it appears that voters from the battleground state of Florida are leaning to vote Republican in the 2016 Presidential Election. While it will be a tight race, the data shows that the general population will help Hillary Clinton break that glass ceiling.


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Read more about our survey results: 2016 Presidential Election Survey [WordClouds]

For more information regarding the results of these surveys please contact: sales-team@qsample.com

2016 Presidential Election Survey

 

A new poll conducted by qSample among likely voters shows that Hillary Clinton is maintaining a slight lead (40% to 37%) in the presidential race. While this is good news for Secretary Clinton, the data also shows that Donald Trump is closing the gap and gaining momentum in key battleground states like Florida.

More than 400 respondents participated in the survey between the end of August and September. Respondents are registered members of qSample’s likely voter panel. The sample consists of an even split of republicans and democrats. Respondents were asked a series of questions, ranging from the economy, direction of the country, healthcare, immigration and other important topics dominating this election.

We asked respondents to write one word that comes to mind when thinking about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The results are illustrated in the WordCloud below. To avoid compromising the integrity of the data, we elected to keep the original, unedited version of each word. As a disclaimer, the below report may contain words that may be offensive to some readers.

 

HCWordcloud

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Read more about our survey results: The Outlook: Presidential Election 2016

For more information regarding the results of these surveys please contact: sales-team@qsample.com

College Students And Their Views On The Future [Infographic]

College graduates celebrating by throwing hats in the air

 

Comedian George Burns famously said, “I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”

College students are taking Burn’s advice, it seems, focusing on the future with an attentive, pragmatic yet positive eye. They want successful careers more than anything, care little about popularity, and social media is not the great democratizer but just another neutral avenue in life.

These are the findings from qSample’s latest study, presented here in an infographic. The study was conducted using our college student sample, surveying more than 200 participants on a range of social and economic topics. Respondents were accessed from our Campus Universe initiative—regularly utilized for varied studies for both academics and businesses by clients. The findings can also be found in our post College Students Optimistic About Economic Future.

The qSample research should give hope for the country’s future (and certainly relevant with graduation season around the corner). Millennials spend $600 million a year in the U.S. alone, with some estimates having them reach $3 billion in a decade as they dominate the labor force. Therefore, the economy should be in good hands, unless these graduates are hamstrung with student debt and not enough salary growth.

Please enjoy our infographic and please enjoy spending the rest of your life in the future:

 

Colleget Students and their view of the future

 

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Trust, Joy, Sadness And Fear. Primary Election Emotions In 2016

Picture of Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

 

graph on candidates

Click for full view

 

I decided it might be interesting to analyze the tweets of the main political players in the run-up to Super Tuesday. The methodology was simple, follow their official twitter accounts and then analyze the tweets for emotional word content. 1029 tweets from official twitter accounts for Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were collected. The collection started on February 23rd and continued through to midnight February 29th, the day before Super Tuesday. A breakdown of the volume of tweets per politician is shown on the right.

Obviously, there were a huge amount of other tweets relating to the individual politicians but I wanted to see what their core message was in terms of the use of emotionally related words. It’s of note that Cruz , the youngest of all the candidates analyzed , sent out the most number of tweets, followed by Sanders. Cruz was also the only one to use no capital letters in his screen name “tedcruz”.

Words were categorized using 8 types of emotion, which could overlap. The types were fear, anger, sadness, disgust, anticipation, surprise, joy and trust. It’s an approach which treats text as a “bag of words”, no attempt is made to parse the text for grammatical constructions in this case.

As an example I searched for the word “food” in a collection of 1.5 million random tweets. The search revealed 7319 tweets with the word “food” in them, the analysis of these tweets for emotional content is shown below:

 

graph on candidates2

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This ring is like a pie chart, except its thickness is in proportion to the numbers of words which could be classed as emotional out of all the words in a tweet. The percentage in the center is the value for this, so 33% shows that 33% of words in the tweets with the word “food” in them could be put into one of our emotional types. This is a measure of how emotionally expressive the tweets were. The circle on the lower right shows the percentage of emotional words that are either classed as positive or negative within all the words classed as emotional. Blue means positive, red means negative. In way of contrast a search for the word “death” shows a very different result:

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Click for full view

For our candidates, we see some subtle differences. Both Trump and Cruz share the same level of “positivity”, with a score of 59% but it would be useful to remember nothing is exact with any analysis of language.

 

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Cruz uses fewer words that are classed as emotional words in total, yet with more tweets overall.

Turning to Clinton and Sanders we see this:

 

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Here we see a different pattern. Levels of positivity are slightly above those of Cruz and Trump at 64% for both candidates with Clinton using less emotional words overall in a similar way to Cruz.

The top three emotional categories for Clinton and Sanders are trust, anticipation and joy. For Cruz the top two are trust and anticipation. In contrast, Trumps’ top two categories are trust and joy. Trump and Cruz also differ in the third highest. For Trump, his third category is sadness, for Cruz fear.

Bag of words approaches to text analysis are well established in the realm of content analysis of huge text collections. It’s interesting to see that they might have some application to smaller problems. The key point to remember is that this is one way of looking at text, there are many more. None of them can be said to be correct, it all depends how useful the results are.

 

Andrew Jeavons is Founder and CEO of Mass Cognition – a company that specializes in helping clients understand the deeper meanings in text and social media data.  He was previously the CEO of Survey Analytics, a major survey software vendor serving Fortune 500 customers and the international community.  He was one of the founders of e-tabs and has a (too) long history in the market research technology industry. He is a well-known award winning speaker and blogger.

Voter Panel Meme

Online Poll: Debate Has Little Impact on Florida Voters

Only three percent of survey participants believe the October 22 showdown changed how they will vote on November 6th, according to a survey conducted with Florida Voter’s Voice, an online research panel of likely voters developed and managed by qSample.

This unique survey was deployed immediately after the debate and indicates the state’s voters are skewing towards Barack Obama, but with 23% still undecided.

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Of note – 64% of panel participants indicated the foreign policy topics debated are important to them in this election. When asked whom they think won the debate, 52% choose President Obama versus 31% for Governor Romney. Also, 42% of respondents confirmed that they consider themselves a Democrat versus 35% of the survey population that declared themselves Republican.

In fact, 99% of voters who consider themselves “strong” Democrats believe Obama won the debate last night and 72% of “strong” Republicans considered Romney the winner.
These party affiliation numbers are not as tight as those forecasted in the nation-wide presidential race, but it confirms how influential the Independent voters are in this key campaign state.

Florida has 29 electoral-college votes to be won, and when asking these Independent voters who won Monday night’s debate, 55% gave the nod to Obama, while 30% sided with Romney and 15% called it a draw.

Florida Voter’s Voice participants are highly committed to this election, with 98% of respondents planning to vote in next month’s election and the remaining 2% indicating they had voted early. Other majority characteristics of this survey include: 70 % of the respondents are Caucasian, 93% are over 35 years old and gender evenly represented.

Florida Voter’s Voice is part of VoterFeedback.com – a robust online panel of likely voters nationwide, developed by qsample. For firms that are in need of a quality sample of likely voters, VoterFeedback provides access to millions of respondents who are highly profiled and recruited to participate in a variety of research initiatives.

by Rudly Raphael

Obama Leads Romney 47% to 43% in Florida Voterfeedback Online Survey

A new poll conducted among Florida likely voters shows President Obama with a 4 percentage point lead over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in this key battleground state, 47% to 43%, with 11% of voters undecided.

Two times as many Florida voters have an unfavorable view (65%) of Governor Rick Scott as a favorable one (31%).

In the presidential race, Obama is leading Romney 47% to 26% among independent voters, with 27% undecided. Women give the nod to Obama, 49% to 36%, while men are split evenly, with 45% supporting each candidate.

President Obama’s lead is just beyond the poll’s margin of error of +/-3.8 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. The survey was conducted from March 20th to April 13th among 677 members of the Voterfeedback online survey panel in Florida.

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A majority of Floridians polled have a favorable view of President Obama (55% favorable, 45% unfavorable), while Mitt Romney’s ratings are split, with 47% having a favorable view and 50% having an unfavorable view.

In the race for U.S. Senate, 44% say they would vote for Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in a matchup with Republican Connie Mack (31%), with 25% undecided.

Voterfeedback is a service of qSample and is the first online panel allowing an accurate gauge of the voting population in a battleground state.

by Rudly Raphael