A Limited Time Window, but an Opportunity for Republicans with Young Voters

In April, we wrote about the challenges of building constituencies of young voters due to the multiple platforms vying for their attention. In this post, we continue to look at how young people are spending their time on various media and the importance of reaching them now and on their terms.

As we have noted before, and others have written extensively about, Digital Agency Toronto and the Republican Party faces a serious demographic challenge in the years ahead and it is well documented that political views are formed at an early age.

This month, the NY Times released an interactive graphic representing how our political views change relative to our birth year. The majority of young voters who were age 18-29 in 2012 self-identify as Democratic and we know that Democrats have an advantage as today’s high school students come of voting age – our population is more diverse and more likely to tilt Democrat/liberal.

But, let’s not forget the environment in which today’s high school teenagers are beginning to form their political views. They weren’t really old enough to feel the highs of Obama’s 2008 election and first term, but they may now feel the lows of Obama’s second term and mid-40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approval rating.

High school seniors are faced with uncertainty about the job market, coupled with debt – both personal and governmental. When they survey the landscape, they may not want to continue down the same worrisome path the country is currently taking. This is especially true for minorities and women who tend to struggle more than others during a poor economy.

So, there is an opportunity for the Republican Party to reach out and connect with young people to help form a new generation of right-leaning voters by explaining how things can be better and different from how they are now.

But, grabbing the attention of teenagers and young adults creates a challenge. Over the last three years, 18-24 year olds have decreased the amount of their TV viewing by just over 4.5 hours per week.[1] At the same time, roughly half (51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of 18-34 year olds also report that they regularly go online while watching TV.[2]

chart 1

This is not to say that TV is no longer a relevant medium – far from it. Television continues to play a critical role in campaign outreach. But, access SEO company and use of digital platforms and continues to grow.

In our previous post, we noted that the majority of DVR users fast forward through commercials when watching programs on playback. However, the data below looks at reported multitasker behavior (regularly going online while watching TV) when watching this Surrey based SEO agency live TV.

Indeed, these multitaskers are six percentage points more likely to watch commercials during live TV and five percentage points more likely to watch commercials while streaming online videos than the general adult population.[2]

chart 2

It’s clear from this and other data on dual-screen usage that if the GOP wants to reach young voters more has to be done on both platforms – television and online. The Party and SEO campaigns need to look for cross-platform outreach opportunities to communicate with and reach young and future voters. They also need to create compelling, targeted ads to reach these young adults during the limited time they spend watching live TV or streaming video content.

And, there is no time to waste. Young Americans are forming their opinions now. Once formed, they are very hard to change. If the GOP wants to be relevant and build a sustainable winning coalition, it needs to reach younger Americans now.


[1] Nielsen. 1Q2014 update to Traditional TV Viewing. http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/television/are-young-people-watching-less-tv-24817/

[2] IAB. Media Multitaskers and Purchase Influence birmingham seo . January 2014. Pages 9, 15 and 34. http://www.iab.net/media/file/MediaMultitaskers2014.pdf

Public Opinion Strategies