Part 2 of my series on election 2008. Part 1 can be found here.
PART 1: MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK
Well you know what happened. Obama won 349 electoral college votes with 63.9 million votes and McCain won 163 with 56.4 million votes (CNN as of this writing still has MO and NC too close). Comparing that with President Bush's outcome in 2004 , Obama received 1.89 million more votes. He received 2/3 of the 18-29 year old vote (18% of vote) and McCain received 53% of 65+ (16% of vote). More fun facts for you: Obama received 95% of black votes, 67% Latino, and 55% of people with income below $100K. 60% of voters decided who they were going to vote for before September and another 14% in September. And, making an educated guess 20% of all voters decided who they were going to vote for after the Joe The Plumber conversation. Finally, according to Real Clear Politics Senator McCain had a 48.0 to 45.6 lead on September 9 which quickly evaporated when our economy blew up. So what happened...
- Senator McCain was impacted by President Bush's dismal approval ratings and the Obama campaign NEVER stopped trying to link McCain with Bush. Every surrogate spoke of more of the same, voting 90%+ times, McBush, etc. That was hammered home and I saw it in search ads when you Googled Senator McCain, in blog posts, and of course in bumper cars. We knew this problem going in - EVERYONE KNEW THIS PROBLEM. Could we have fought this better online? Not with banner or search ads. The only way to have combated that was with a more social networking strategy and better blogger direction.
- The economy blowing up pushed us to an area we couldn't recover from. I believe that our plan was the better plan for the USA and I also don't believe that Senator Obama's tax plan as currently offered will ever become law. We spent tons of money online in the form of display ads as well as search ads. We were the first ones to jump on the Joe The Plumber issue online and based on my past brokerage experience with Harrisdirect, I created a mini-online brokerage search campaign. I saw quite a number of blog posts from people commenting on our ads on stock tickers and other brokerage terms. However, a ton of people already had made their decision before the economic blow up and we ran up against Obama's tax calculator.
- Obama's legion of followers defied logic. Without re-stating the obvious, we had plans to target the Youth, Women (Wal Mart), and Hispanics going back over a year. Women in particular we were targeting both with messaging as well as online media for a long time (way BEFORE Hillary dropped out of the race). Even for Hispanics we ran our own in-language search marketing campaigns in Yahoo and Google, but sadly we could never get traction outside of search for these groups. Our beating among the Hispanic vote was even more of a shocker for me, because last summer the immigration issue via the McCain-Kennedy bill almost destroyed us. In the end it just wasn't that Obama recognized these new groups, but they used modern data mining techniques to organize and activate them via social networking.