Both Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s campaigns – along with countless political groups – ask people to supply their mobile numbers when “signing” online petitions or donating. But a mere 5 percent of registered voters with cellphones have actually coughed up their mobile phone numbers according to a new Pew report.
A larger portion of people aligned with the Democratic Party sign up to get political texts than Republicans, and larger portions of both groups do so than Independents. While just 3 percent of Independent voters said they have signed up to get texts from a political group or candidate, 6 percent of Republican voters and 8 percent of Democrats said they have.
Five percent of those surveyed also told the research outfit that they have received what they consider unwanted texts related to the election that they did not sign up to get.
Compared to previous election seasons, mobile apps are common in 2012. Romney, for instance, developed a mobile app to announce his VP selection, and has subsequently used the platform to push out other campaign messages. However, app usage among voters is relatively low.
According to “The State of the 2012 Election – Mobile Politics” report from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, of the 45 percent of registered voters with cellphones who use mobile apps, just 8 percent of that portion of the mobile voter sub-segment have used apps from a candidate, party, or advocacy organization this election cycle.
Meanwhile, a large portion of registered voters use cellphones – 88 percent as of late September, noted Pew. Among these mobile voters, 18 percent have used their phones to post their own political comments on a social site.
It’s that social flow of commentary that political advertisers aim to influence through Promoted Tweets and Trends on Twitter, for instance. Both the Obama and Romney camps, along with Koch Brothers-linked group Americans for Prosperity have purchased Promoted Trends in the hopes of steering Twitter conversations this election season, for example. Many more political groups and candidate campaigns have bought Promoted Tweets or posted images and messages on Facebook they hope will spur sharing and commentary.
Pew’s study was based on a nationally-representative landline and mobile phone survey of around 1,000 adults between September 20 and 23.