Although still early, the 2012 Presidential election remains very close (within the margin of error). According to Rasmussen Reports, Governor Romney leads President Obama 47 percent to 44 percent (5 percent support another candidate and 4 percent are undecided). Expect these numbers to fluctuate throughout the election, but generally remain very close.
Of course, some events may lead to slight changes in polling numbers in the near term, including the Supreme Court’s ruling on healthcare reform and Governor Romney’s announcement on his choice for a running mate.
Presidential Campaign Fundraising
The Presidential campaigns are becoming increasingly expensive as candidates work to out maneuver their opponents in media campaigns, direct mail and various other voter outreach efforts. Both Governor Romney and President Obama are working to secure campaign contributions to help fund their efforts in the coming months. Thus far, President Obama has the fundraising edge with $217 million raised compared to Governor Romney, who has raised $97.6 million. This gap is expected to narrow now that Governor Romney is not competing with 10 other Republican candidates for donors.
While these fundraising totals are enormous, they are actually significantly less than the 2008 election. At this point in the previous Presidential election, then-Senator Obama had raised $265.5 million (as one of eight Democrat candidates) and Governor Romney had raised $104.8 million (as one of 12 Republican candidates). The overall level of fundraising among Presidential candidates is down as well since last election cycle:
March 30, 2012
March 30, 2008
Are Campaigns Tech Savvy?
As campaigns become more expensive and voters become more exposed to the 24-hour news cycle, Presidential campaigns have to utilize technology to reach voters and target donors. Raising hundreds of millions of dollars cannot be done by simply knocking on doors or making phone calls. Campaigns – to varying degrees – are turning to technology to help expand their reach and donor base.
Of course, all campaigns have websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and blogs. However, sophisticated campaigns are using new and innovative tools to reach voters.
Then-Senator Obama’s 2008 campaign was largely credited for infusing sophisticated technology into campaigns. He was the first candidate to announce his Vice President over text message and the first to create an iPhone app for his campaign. A recent Politico article indicates that this trend is continuing in his 2012 campaign:
They know what you read and where you shop, what kind of work you do and who you count as friends. They also know who your mother voted for in the last election. The depth and breadth of the Obama campaign’s 2012 digital operation — from data mining to online organizing — reaches so far beyond anything politics has ever seen, experts maintain, that it could impact the outcome of a close presidential election. It makes the president’s much-heralded 2008 social media juggernaut — which raised half billion dollars and revolutionized politics — look like cavemen with stone tablets…the campaign is building what some see as an unprecedented data base to develop highly specific profiles of potential voters. This allows the campaign to tailor messages directly to them — depending on factors such as socio-economic level, age and interests. The data also allows the campaign to micro-target a range of dollar solicitations online depending on the recipient. In 2008, the campaign was the first to maximize online giving — raising hundreds of millions of dollars from small donors. This time, they are constantly experimenting and testing to expand the donor base.
Data collection and micro targeting, however, isn’t the only tool being used by campaigns today. Both campaigns, for example, are using mobile payment technology (i.e. Square) to help facilitate donations. Furthermore, the FEC just voted to allow campaign contributions (with a limit of $50 per cycle) to be made over text message – a new technology both campaigns are expected to utilize.
Both President Obama and Governor Romney are spending a significant amount of money on technology, online advertising, and digital communications. As technologies evolve and campaigns continue to innovate, these campaigns (and all others) are expected to increase the use of technology to reach voters and increase fundraising.