Obama to Get Mass Media Spending Advantage: MPG,CNN Survey

Obama’s lead will widen in the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign according to MPG’s social network modeling system, Resonance, a real-world application of SimCity-like technology. Expect Obama to lead with 57% of the popular vote vs. 43% McCain in the states that will determine the outcome of the November 4 election. According to the survey conducted through a partnership of MPG and CNN.

Mass media spending has been a clear advantage for Obama. Nearly twice the spending, mostly television, with the gap expected to widen between now and Election Day.

The Democratic base and majority of independents are far more involved with the campaigns, with information gathering and researching the issues. These groups are more involved with most media and information sources.

The Obama campaign’s facility with internet marketing has had a double whammy effect on McCain with more/better execution plus a constituency – Democrats and Independents – that is more accessible and open to internet communications. (While blog posting is fairly limited, reading blogs is common.) By comparison, the middle-aged and older segment of the Republican Party is less involved with the internet. And, those Republicans that ARE on the internet are encountering less support for their cause.

And, while McCain is ahead on perceptions of consistency, Obama maintains a strong lead on both, trust and leadership perceptions, a result of his campaign activities including participation in the debates.

Weighing in heavily, but of little sway, is word-of-mouth. Most research touchpoint studies suggest the importance of word-of-mouth as a key influencer of final purchase. The volume of conversations about the presidential campaigns is enormous; however, in the majority of cases, conversations are taking place among like-minded individuals. In the cases where conversations could potentially sway the vote, the net impact is a wash.

MPG’s Resonance is a social networking system that provides a means of defining the structure of a social network and then simulating outcomes.

“This is a area where traditional modeling approaches simply fail. Resonance takes into account every brand (candidate) encounter, one person at a time. Using agent-based modeling, it evaluates the complex interplay of conventions, debates, ad exposures and everyday conversations that take place about the candidates and issues to determine the most likely outcome ,” says Joe Abruzzo, Director of Research for MPG North America.

A survey of 1,212 “likely voters” conducted through a partnership of MPG and CNN Sales Research in the days immediately following the conventions in states designated by CNN.com as “Battleground”, “Leaning McCain”, or “Leaning Obama”, was used to define the structure of the social network, the context in which the simulations could be run.

The social network structure was based on: party affiliation, degree of socialization, level of involvement, likelihood of changing one’s mind, perceptions of attribute importance and candidate ratings (trust, consistency, leadership and a battery of policy issues).

Media touchpoints also played a major role in the simulation including likely voter involvement with a broad range of communication touchpoints including mass, online and consumer generated media AND detailed media plans.

Other inputs to the Resonance system included major campaign events (e.g. the conventions, the debates) plus estimates of each campaign’s investment in various marketing communication outlets.

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