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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/24/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

But will Republicans adopt it in time?

Last year, Catholic Online reported on Obama's secret edge in the upcoming 2012 election. Now, according to Politico, the depth of that advantage is being brought to light. The advantage is so great that despite sagging poll numbers, Obama just may have the advantage he needs to win the election.

Mobile Politics could be a game changer for Republicans -- and a show stopper for Obama.

Mobile Politics could be a game changer for Republicans -- and a show stopper for Obama.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/24/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: mobile politics, Obama, Romney, 2012 election, data, marketing


CHICAGO, IL (Catholic Online) - No politician before Obama has ever delved so deeply into your personal life to earn your vote. According to Politico, the Obama camp even "knows who your mother voted for in the last election." It's not quite an exaggeration either. 

In a Chicago office, more than 150 people are mining, aggregating, and sorting data on all aspects of your life. It's much more than name and party affiliation, it's your personal details, including everything you post to your social networks. Using this data, Obama is able to classify you and eventually target you with a very precise message aimed at your personal sensitivities. 

For example, if environmental issues concern you, you may get a message or an advertisement from the Obama campaign that claims success on environmental issues and promises more.

Timed right, it could be just the message you need to hear to win your vote for Obama. 

This is not Obama's first rodeo with technology. In 2008, Obama used social media to devastating effect. Now in 2012, we can expect more of the same, but with far greater power and efficiency.

Why this matters

Barring an unforeseen revelation or gaffe, the 2012 presidential election is expected to be a close one. And although Obama has more money than Romney and is poised to outspend him, money isn't going to be the deciding factor this time around. 

What will decide the election is pure marketing. Traditional campaigns, especially Republican, rely on mass-media blitzes to convince people to support their candidate. This is a strategy that has worked well, in the past, but it's expensive and times have changed. Broadcasting is finally giving way to hyper-targeting. 

Today, Obama can reach you in your pocket or purse, 24 hours a day and take more than your money - he can get your support. He doesn't have to wait for you to settle down in front of your favorite prime-time TV show to hear his voice either. This is because people connect with political apps and social networking 24 hours a day. Furthermore, they do this in places you would not expect because they now use their phone as their primary tool for surfing the web and passing time. Morning commutes, walks, idle breaks at work, even using the toilet, are all times Obama wants to reach out and touch you. 

Obama, with his technological advantages can connect with people via mobile apps and their social networks, delivering precisely timed, custom-built messages. And since a majority of Americans own smartphones, Obama can send a quick text, email alert, or status update right to them. 

Even used car salesmen don't have the advantage Obama has, which is the ability to know the personal details of your life and to tailor and time a message for maximum effect. 

But one thing hasn't changed and that's that elections come down to numbers. Right now, the numbers are startling.

Followers on Twitter
Obama: 16.5 million followers.
Romney: Less than 1 million.
Michelle Obama: 7.5 million.

Followers on Facebook
Obama: 27 million likes and follows.
Romney: less than 2 million.
Michelle Obama: 7.5 million. 

Obama's "IN." Social networking app on Facebook has 90,000 monthly users. 

Obama also dominates the donations under $200 category, generating 53 percent of his contributions from that demographic. Romney is earning just 13 percent from the same demographic suggesting there's great potential for growth in that sector. 

Many of those donors are young people, those most likely to have a smartphone and to use political apps. Republicans are leaving a lot of money on the table, or so it seems. 

Size doesn't matter

It's how you use the money and the data you have. Right now, Obama is winning, hands down. Obama is able to interact with voters on the individual level. This is one place where Republicans need to improve. 

Obama's 2012 app has been fraught with minor bugs and annoyances. Also, the app is decidedly one-way. Users can only read what is sent to them, so the app is less interactive meaning less overall engagement.

Arrival of a game changer?

Meanwhile a new political app, Mobile Politics, shows potential to eclipse Obama's second-class app. Catholic Online recently adopted Mobile Politics as an app for social advocacy. After reviewing the base version of Mobile Politics it is clear the app is powerful and engaging. Mobile Politics features pulses, which gives voters the ability to weigh-in, in real time, on questions posed by their favorite candidates or advocacy organizations. Also, it allows secure donations back to the candidates. 

Such an application is already developed and available for iPhone users to download, but so far the Republicans are yet to pick it up because the application is relatively unknown. But that will change. With Catholic Online selecting the app for its advocacy campaigns, the application will set a new standard for what is expected in an advocacy app. Interestingly, Mobile Politics is the only app with the power and capability to change the game for Republican candidates. 

By all rights, the election shouldn't be close at all. Obama has clearly made a mess of his four year's tenure. But Republicans need to be a little more savvy and edgy if they are to overcome Obama's technological advantages. If they want to level the playing field, they need to start engaging people in the street just like Obama is doing. 

Failure to do so may result in shock this November. 

 

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