Candidate Web Sites Are As Effective As TV And Cable Ads

Originally posted on and written by Karen A.B. Jagoda

Results of two national studies among political consultants and American voters revealed that candidate web sites are almost as effective for reaching loyal base voters as network and cable television ads. In the survey of political experts, 25% of respondents said the candidate’s own web site was effective for communicating with base voters while 26% rated television and cable ads useful. Nearly half of all consultants (46%), reported that the best ways to reach loyal base voters is email, followed by traditional means such as direct mail, events and telephone.

E-Voter Institute and HCD Research conducted the studies to explore the growing use of the Internet for political campaigns. E-Voter Institute’s 7th Annual Survey of Political and Advocacy Communications Leaders was conducted May 8-28, 2008, among 178 political consultants. The 3rd Annual Survey of Voter Expectations was conducted at the same time with 4,801 people, a representative sample of the U.S. electorate. Chris Borick, Ph.D., Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, was a key member of the analysis team.

“We are still seeing a wide gap between what voters expect and what campaigns are delivering online,” said Karen Jagoda, President, E-Voter Institute. “The campaign dollars being spent for television ads on the Olympics are not being further enhanced by paid on-line ads on Olympic-related web sites,” said Jagoda.

Among the findings:

• The majority of voters (87%) expect candidates to have an official web site and 70% expect them to use it to raise money and for posting television ads.

• Two out of three voters expect candidates to use on-line ads, webcasts and campaign video on other sites, while only 5% of consultants believe these are effective methods to reach voters.

• Though an increase of 57% from 2007, less than 25% of the consultants reported that web sites and email are effective for reaching swing/independent voters. E-Voter Institute is a non-partisan trade association founded in 1999 to promote the interests of Web publishers and solution providers to the political and advocacy communities.

For more information, visit HCD Research is a communications research company headquartered in Flemington, NJ. The company’s services include traditional and web-based marketing and communications research. For more information visit or call HCD Research at 908-788-9393.

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