by CYNDY SLOVAK-BARTON
Political commercials are everywhere these days – television, radio, websites and newspapers. There are so many political signs that it would be difficult – if not impossible – for a person NOT to know that an election is around the corner.
The Hays Free Press has seen its share of political ads, but television stations for the past few years have drawn the large portion of campaign advertising money. The big bucks have gone to television over the last decade.
That particular scenario seems to be changing. A conservative super PAC supporting Mitt Romney is pushing money into Wisconsin daily and weekly newspapers. Seems the airwaves there are overrun with commercials, as voters are being bombarded there.
So what’s the retro move to newspapers about?
As reported by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, this super PAC wants to get “outside the clutter box” and get to the people who vote – newspaper readers. Ending Spending Action Fund has printed more than 4 million slick-paper inserts, scheduled to go into newspapers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia and Florida.
Why? The group has found that heavy newspaper readers, those who regularly read daily or weekly newspapers, are more likely to vote than light newspaper readers, who are more likely to vote than only TV viewers. The weakest voters, almost nonexistent, are those who listen only to the radio.
“The best predictor of whether somebody is going to vote or not is whether or not they read the newspaper. Newspaper readers tend to be older, therefore they are more likely to vote. They’re also obviously interested in news and politics,” said Will Feltus, who did the media buy for the 2004 George W. Bush re-election campaign. Feltus now works for conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade. Ricketts has a $10 million independent ad campaign going right now, buying all sorts of advertising – television, radio, internet and, now, newspapers.
Feltus’ intuition is supported by Scarborough Research, a national firm that looks at consumer habits, media behaviors and trends. Scarborough’s research found that there is a direct correlation between voting and media consumption, with the strongest tie between newspaper readers and voting than any other medium.
These findings are not surprising to the Hays Free Press. When election day gets close, there is always a surge in newspaper rack sales. But it is the day-in and day-out reader that candidates can be counted on to vote.
These readers are more informed about the issues, more in touch with local issues.
Not a surprise.