Tens of millions of conservative voters in 2016 succeeded in altering the country’s direction. You might see that as a good or bad thing. But, with a few exceptions, most adults in the US aged 55 or younger find that “new” trajectory to be worse, not better in 2017.
Many of those conservatives are still clinging to the ideal that it’s in our best interest to snatch the USA back from liberal elites promoting big government and the decay of societal values. Those liberals, in turn, believe the conservative ilk is content to jettison us back 50 years and rekindle the flames of racial unrest.
Less than a year after the election, our political marketing research depicts a highly dissatisfied populace.
But the polarizing feelings remain strong. They’ll likely last long past the 2018 midterms. In some cases, they’ll make campaigning for office an exercise in madness. Here’s a capsule look at what you should know to craft your political campaign strategy.
Political Marketing Research: Nation’s Momentum is Awry (But Not to Conservatives)
Here’s a sample from our recent political marketing research campaign involving 3,019 respondents under age 55 across 50 key media markets nationwide. Participants represented a statistically reliable bell curve running from “very liberal” to “moderate” to “very conservative.” Older voters were excluded from this round of surveying and will later be polled as part of an ongoing research series.
Let’s analyze this regional glance:
- East - 25.3% more respondents say worse than better
- Midwest - 28.8% more say worse
- South - 13.8% more say worse
- West - 23% more say worse
- Total - 22.5% more say worse
Trump’s 306 Electoral votes, when pictured on a map, make America look pretty darn red. Heartland America swung almost entirely to President Donald Trump, with the exception of Illinois (tilted blue mostly by Chicago in 2016) and Minnesota. Hillary Clinton’s strongholds, quite predictably, came in liberal hotbeds along America’s coasts, particularly the Northeast and New England.
The Iowa Caucuses kick off Big Campaign season, and all candidates, especially at the federal level, clamor to appeal to “salt-of the earth” voters in America’s Breadbasket. Yet, since those Midwest voters helped Republicans claim the House, Senate, and Oval Office, they now clearly show more disdain for America’s direction than any other region.
The Facts of Life (from Demographic Perspectives)
Men and women typically see things differently. It’s a fact of life - just ask those who’ve read “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”
Overall, more men strongly believed the country’s momentum has changed for the better (32.1% of men vs. just 16.8% of women). That disparity further indicates 37.2% more women believe the country is worse than those who believe it’s better, while just 5.6% more men believe it’s worse over those who believe it’s better.
Here’s a gender breakdown by age group.
By political leaning:
- Very liberal - 69.9% believe the momentum has changed for the worse, while 19.2% believe it’s changed for the better (50.7% more believe it’s worse).
- Somewhat liberal - 69.7% believe it’s changed for the worse, while just 11.8% say it’s changed for the better (57.9% more believe it’s worse).
- Moderate - 45.5% believe it’s changed for the worse, while 20.7% say it’s changed for the better (24.8% more believe it’s worse).
- Somewhat conservative - 25.7% believe it’s changed for the worse, while 41.1% say it’s changed for the better (15.4% believe it’s better).
- Very conservative - 17.7% believe it’s changed for the worse, while 54.5% say it’s changed for the better (36.8% more believe it’s better).
By media consumption:
This especially is what you’d expect.
- 52.7% who prefer the New York Times believe the country’s momentum has changed for the worse, while 58.3% who prefer Breitbart believe it’s changed for the better.
- 42.3% who prefer Fox News say it’s changed for the better, while 47.3% who prefer CNN say it’s changed for the worse. (Conversely, 24.8% who prefer CNN say it’s changed for the better, while 28.5% who prefer Fox News say it’s changed for the worse.)
The genders also generally expressed different tastes in trustworthy media sources (view our blog on managing your political campaign strategy in an era of “fake news”).
Overall, each race polled noted more disapproval for the nation’s direction than approval. Whites, however, had the most optimistic outlook (25.6% selecting changed for the better versus just 17.5% of blacks who felt the same way). The races polled, in general, registered in the mid-20% range for those who felt the country’s momentum has stayed the same.
Polarization at its Most Stubborn
The fever over Trump and conservative stalwarts by the right-wing base is hard-pressed to dwindle. Trump’s approval rating as of Sept. 9 was 38%, and it’s hovered in the mid-to-high 30s for virtually his entire time in office, bolstered by those ultra-conservatives.
Steve Bannon, the recently ousted White House strategist and Breitbart chief executive, has prophesied a civil war within the Republican party and threatened GOP leaders who do not come into line with Trump’s agenda.
Both parties - along with independents - are intensely eyeing 2018. How will the political dynamic appear at the time? How will that affect your candidate’s political campaign strategy?
- Major media markets
- And even individual characteristics
Gather critical information on exactly how your voters think and feel. Only then can you build a platform that truly resonates.