by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Technology that enables campaigns to monitor text messaging conversations with voters in real time is generating more personalized data that candidates are using to craft targeted political appeals.
Two weeks after the coronavirus pandemic grounded most 2020 campaigns, text messaging is emerging as the primary method for establishing relationships with voters and encouraging turnout. Backed by technology that records and stores individual text exchanges, the transition to a virtual footing is expected to lead to a spike in the “qualitative” data collected by campaigns. The information, a mass compilation of millions speaking in their own words, is both shaping politicians’ messages and speeding their ability to adapt as voters’ concerns evolve.
Thomas Peters, a Republican operative, said “2020 is going to be the year of the political text message because it’s the last personal channel.” His firm, RumbleUp, developed software that allows text message conversations between field staff and prospective voters to be viewed concurrently by decision-makers back at campaign headquarters.
Campaign strategists in both political parties consider in-person conversations initiated by acquaintances and neighbors the most effective strategy for forging connections with voters and convincing them to back their candidates. With the coronavirus pandemic raging, the campaigns have pivoted to a host of virtual communications, including phone-banking and advertising across a range of digital platforms.
But sending text messages to voters’ mobile devices is preferred.
The response rates are high, surpassing campaign-generated emails, and they tend to be immediate. And, the ability to review entire text chains provides a deeper understanding of voter psychology and opinions on a range of topics.
Carolina Journal Online continues to focus on hotly contested races in the upcoming 2020 N.C. elections. Be sure to follow that coverage daily at CarolinaJournal.com.