E-Voter 2002 Study Reveals Internet Use in Senate Races
Campaign Finance Reform will Place Premium on Internet Access to Voters

   
   

For Release November 13, 2002 at 1:30PM EST

   
   

E-Voter Institute
Karen Jagoda
Phone: 202-338-2430
Web:
www.e-voterinstitute.com
E-mail: karen@evoterinstitute.com

   
    November 13, 2002 Washington D.C. - In eight tightly contested Senate races, online advertising banners were bought by Republican candidates on a collection of AOL Time Warner sites five days before Election Day. Six of those eight Republican candidates won their race. E-Voter Institute, a non-partisan trade association, identified many state and local races that used Internet advertising and email blasts to get attendance at rallies, solicit last minute contributions, and get out the vote. The eight Senate races were particularly revealing about the attitude of the political community towards the use of the Internet. While the establishment was not sure online ads work, they could not risk ignoring the potential of online ads to reach undecided voters and to get out the vote.    
    During this mid-term election period, E-Voter Institute also held the Second Annual Survey of Political and Advocacy Communication Leaders which was conducted by Dynamic Logic in cooperation with the NYTimes.com, washingtonpost.com, The National Journal, The Microsoft Network (MSN.com), AOL Time Warner, PoliticsOnline, and the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC).    
    One of the key findings of the Survey is that only half of the political communication leaders are aware of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform advantage regarding use of the Internet in political campaigns. For while the Campaign Finance Reform Act restricts the use of television and radio ads paid for with corporate or labor money 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before the general election, there are no restrictions on Internet advertising.    
    Of the Survey respondents who were previously unaware of the advantage, one out of three said they are now more likely to recommend the Internet. "Clearly, educating political consultants about the opportunity will speed up the adoption of Internet tools," said Karen Jagoda, Founder and President of E-Voter Institute.    
    From 2001 to 2002, the Second Annual E-Voter Survey finds a 70% jump in interest in recommending online ads, and a 59% increase in those recommending or using online fund-raising. The Survey further reveals that while 60% of the politicians think online advertising should be recommended, only 42% of the media consultants do, suggesting that candidates themselves are on-board with new technologies but that consultants are dissuading candidates from using "untested" approaches.    
    "Consultants have been reaping the rewards of placing media on television for over 40 years. Are they more worried about their own margins than the success of their clients?" said Cyrus Krohn, Publisher of Slate Magazine.    
    E-Voter 2002 predicts that by 2008, one in four dollars of a campaign budget will be dedicated to Internet activities, with the direct mail and print budgets the most likely sources of funds for Internet activities according to 57% of all respondents. Less than one in three respondents think television budgets will be re-allocated for the Internet. "These consultants see a clear connection between direct mail and the Internet," said Nick Nyhan, President of Dynamic Logic. "They do not understand how to best optimize the media mix to include online advertising to enhance television and radio advertising."    
    One in five consultants say that the Internet is not a reach medium and nearly as many say that it is not medium that can be used for targeting. Yet almost one in five of the respondents have no hesitations about using the Internet, a jump of 186% from those who responded last year. "This confusion about the targeting ability of the Internet needs to be overcome in the political community because advocacy advertisers have already seen great rewards from online campaigns," said Roger Stone, President of Advocacy Inc.    
    In Arizona, online targeting was done using the local newspaper sites along with some broader sites for three state-wide races. Bill Caspare, DB Associates, said, "There is no doubt that these online campaigns had a discernable affect on the final results."    
    E-Voter 2002 Study suggests that campaign finance reform will be the impetus for political media strategists to finally include online advertising as a significant component of a campaign communication budget.    
    Fact Sheet: The Senate ads purchased through AOL appeared across a variety of AOL Time Warner sites and services including America Online, CNN.com, TIME.com, FORTUNE.com, Mapquest.com, Health.com and Parenting.com. Ads were geo-targeted by city, state, and in certain places, by zip code. Ads also appeared on the AOLTW Election Guide which contained detailed election information and was promoted by America Online, CompuServe, Netscape, CNN, TIME, and FORTUNE.    
    In total 10 Republican and Democratic Senate candidates purchased over 13 million Internet ad impressions on AOL Time Warner web properties. The online banners ran from Thursday night before the election through Monday night. Noteworthy are the races in Colorado where polls taken the Thursday before the election showed the Republican candidate for Senate down 44% to 53%. The Republican won the race with 51% of the vote. In Georgia where polls showed the GOP candidate at 49%, the Republican won the race with 53% of the vote.    
    E-Voter 2002 finds that three out of four political communication leaders see the Internet most effective now for mobilizing existing supporters. In addition, nearly 70% also see the advantage of using the Internet for building campaign awareness, getting attendance at events, recruiting volunteers and rapid response.    
    While the E-Voter 2002 Survey finds that only one out of two consultants think the Internet is effective for getting out the vote, in three states where the online banners ran, there were significant increases in GOP voter turnout over the previous mid-term election. In Georgia, there was a 15.2% increase, in North Carolina a 30.1% increase, and in South Dakota where the race is still not decided, there was a 74.4% increase in Republican voters in contrast to a 2.8% increase in Democratic voters.    
    Another example of online targeting was seen in Arizona in races for Governor, Secretary of State and Corporation Commission. As part of the DB Associates online strategies for these candidates, Klipmart technology was used to re-purpose television and radio ads to create video and audio banners which were placed on local newspaper sites. Polling data released November 4, 2002 revealed all three candidates lagging behind their opponents. Two of the three have been declared winners while the candidate for Governor lost in a very tight race.    
         
    Survey analysis is based on opinions of 687 "political and advocacy communication leaders" who were recruited from July 22-September 9, 2002. 2002.