July 10, 2008
Do I vote Democratic or Republican? Well, let’s look at the facts. I like flavored coffee, Democrat. I wouldn’t eat a shrimp dish with bacon in it, no matter how much sauce there is to sop up, Republican. I like Pepsi, Democrat. Anyone who doesn’t pick Chick-fil-a over Popeye’s has never tasted the former, Republican. This isn’t getting us anywhere is it? As far as data mining goes to find your voter base I’m not sure if favored consumer goods are the best litmus test.
On the other hand, issue micro targeting seems to make much more sense. If someone has children in public school they will be interested in the state of our public education system. If someone has a gun in their home they might be interested in the right to own firearms. This makes complete sense to me. If candidates use this information they can directly tailor the issue based literature that is directed to these groups of people. This is the same way that candidates in the past targeted certain states with different messages as they made whistle stop tours of the country. With radio and then television it became harder to get specific messages to one group without alienating another. Getting back to that tactic of discussing what is important to the individual is a good tool for success. Voters seem to feel lost in the shuffle and appreciate being catered to every now and then.
By breaking the voters into groups such as “sensing”, “thinking”, and “judgement” voters Applebee’s America is discussing this kind of targeting. They call it lifestyle targeting. How one feels about inflation, welfare and the punishment of criminals will most definitely influence how they vote. To me this just seems like common sense. The big picture is always hard to comprehend but if a candidate supports your views on a smaller issue, that is very important to you, it could very well sway your vote. I guess you could just call it niche politics