Voters tuning in earlier, find Internet the most reliable for candidate info

New post-election research conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and GBA Strategies in Colorado — a critical swing state in 2012 and 2014 — contains several key lessons for those seeking to understand not just what happened in 2012, but what this election means for 2014 and beyond. First, the traditional campaign timeline for communicating with voters – slowly building communications volume and television point levels to reach a crescendo in the final weeks of the campaign – is history. This research examined not just when voters tuned in to the campaign, but also when they tuned out. The lesson – voter engagement peaks in September and early October; by the final week of the campaign, more than 1-in-3 voters have stopped following congressional campaigns completely. Of course, persuadable voters still break much later, forcing campaigns to weigh the relative importance of turnout messages geared toward base voters with persuasion targeted to a much smaller (but often decisive) universe of swing voters who engage in the campaign much later, make their voting decisions much later, and wait much longer to vote. And that leads to inevitable questions of how to reach these very different groups of voters in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Increasingly, campaigns are turning to online tools to answer those questions. This poll shows that voters now identify the Internet as the most reliable source of information for learning about the candidates in a congressional campaign and gathering the information they need to make their decision. Learn more about this new study and read the memo here.