Three weeks after U.S. elections, when the wave of especulations is already calmed down in an environment of acceptance of the results, it would be worth analyzing in more detail the outcome of an election which has ruined down the predictions of the exit polls.
In a recent publication posted in our blog “The devilish option” we wrote about reasons why the surveys failed, it was associated with emotional factors and honesty of people’s answers. These subjective variables, which are not considered within the methodology and statistical analysis, are capable of tilting the scale one side to the other. Proof of this, is what happened last november 8th. with the United States elections.
However, there are two elements that are also influential and should be considered when we analyze the electoral process, since they have been decisive in justifying an opposite result to previous statistical surveys.
Social Networking vs. Traditional survey
In times of social networking, where the digital media are added to the political pulse, it is necessary to consider the evaluation of the candidates in the different social media, because they influence the public opinion and it seems so, the results of the surveys.
In this case, although Hillary Clinton managed to obtain the support of the traditional mass media; Donald Trump took the lead in social network. At the closure of the election campaign, Trump’s Facebook page added 11.9 million “like” to 7.8 million Hillary fanpage. On twitter he repeated the trend and Trump’s account summed 12.9 million followers and Clinton’s account 10.1 million followers.
But it should not be analyzed only in quantitative terms, in this case the “engagement” resulted from each candidate was essential. In this image you can see it, while contradicting what is shown in the surveys.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton failed to retain the millennials -voters between the ages of 20 and 35- who were a key element in both victories of president Barack Obama and according to Pew Research Center, he obtained 60% of the votes of the under 30’s in 2012 and 66 percent in 2008. This portion of the electorate who was betting on a change sense Clinton as “dishonest,” “non-authentic”, “too moderate,” or “too attached to financial power” who ended up opting for Donald Trump.
The Republican candidate knew how to take advantage of the popularity road in the network that Barack Obama started in 2008. He is known to lead the way of the use of social media as a channel of communication with the voters. In fact, Kori Schulman, the Obama administration’s webmaster, made it clear that “over the last eight years, the President, Vice President, First Lady and The White House have managed social media and technology to get involved with People from all over the country and even worldwide in the most important matters of our time”.
Full-Scale electoral marketing
In addition to the conquest of social network, Donald Trump was able to manage a reasonable political marketing strategy throughout his campaign. Controversy leading the news kept him dominating the information agenda and, therefore, consolidating his personal brand.
In addition, Trump standing firm with its campaign slogan reinforced its strategy of attracting and retaining that convenient place in the American nationalist population. With his “Make American Great Again” he standed until the end and managed to connect with his target audience. This, in addition to bringing his field to the indecisive voter, which in this case opted for the one who ran a campaign with a message more clear.
The electoral campaign was clearly a media fight, in which social network played an important role in attracting the undecided voters and was underestimated in the polls. This coupled with the fact that the road to the White House was handled with a solid marketing strategy and leaded by a businessman that moves with ease in that territory.
Donald Trump bet on the controversy to control the headlines of media and managed to impose itself with force to the benevolent and conciliatory speech of Hillary Clinton. Once again confirms what Antonio’s Stamatogiannakis, marketing lecturer at IE, commented on the previously mentioned post “The Devilish Option.”
Against this backdrop in which social network and marketing strategy were decisive; in which the “demonized” option was capitalized votes; it is possible to justify or understand why exit polls were wrong. Anyway, you can’t forget that an electoral campaign and its predictions move in subjective background, with a strong emotional component that affects the results of a statistical measurement instrument.