Want Your Ads to Reach Swing Voters?

Try O: The Oprah Magazine and Nascar.com

By Published on .

Political Personas
Click Image for highlights from the Experian Consumer Research study.
If you're shopping for media outlets to target hard-core Democrats, you probably know to go to the website of The New York Times, to BBC America or The New Yorker. If you want to reach a fairly right-wing Republican, you go to foxnews.com, Fox News or Reader's Digest. But did you know that Nascar.com, ESPN and O: The Oprah Magazine are good places to pick up potential swing voters? According to an Experian Consumer Research analysis of Simmons National Consumer study, those are among the places you'll find voters labeled "Left Out Democrats," "Mild Republicans," "Conservative Democrats" and "Uninvolved Conservatives."

The group surveyed 25,000 adults (yes, 25,000), and divvied the voting population into 10 segments or "political personas." (Click on the image for highlights of the results.) Eight of those segments make up the 75% of those polled who identified themselves as registered voters. The groups include: "Super Democrats," "Left Out Democrats," "Conservative Democrats," "Mild Republicans," "Uninvolved Conservatives," "Ultra Conservatives," "On the Fence Liberals" and "Green Traditionalists." In the unregistered camp are two groups: "Informed but Unregistered" and "Unconnected and Unregistered."

The groups themselves probably wouldn't come as news to hard-core political pollsters, but the study does include an interesting bit about racial makeup and average household income of the groups and the most useful information could pertain to those in either party that could be swayed in the general election.

Conservative Democrats, for example, are a group made up largely of "well-informed" women who might have liberal views on immigration and the environment, but tend to be pro-life and religious. In other words, they could be ripe for swinging to the right Republican candidate. The average age is 54 and the average household income is $58,000. The group comprises 17% of registered voters and 40% of Democratic voters. Highest media involvement for the group is with TV. The top three networks, according to the study, are Lifetime, We and Hallmark (which may explain Hillary Clinton's buy ahead of Super Tuesday). Where not to reach these voters? Online. Of the Democratic segments, Conservative Democrats spend the least amount of time online. Indeed, members of this group spend less time on the internet than any of the registered voting groups.

Mild Republicans, meanwhile, seem to embody the libertarian leaning members of the GOP. They account for 10% of registered voters and 28% of the Republican party. Average household income is $106,000. While they roll with the party such as social security and immigration, they tend to be more liberal regarding abortion, drug legalization and pornography. Their highest media involvement is with radio, TV and internet. Mild Republicans, in fact, spend more time on the net than any other Republican segment and give Super Democrats a run for their money in time spent online. The top five sites for this group are Marketwatch, Nascar, Expedia, Travelocity and BestBuy.

So what does this mean? Obviously, it can provide campaign managers with a guide to where to place ads. But it also suggests -- and this is my own whack-a-doo theory and not that of a professionally licensed pollster (cough, cough) -- that Hillary Clinton could be a strong candidate against John McCain. After all, if we're to believe the exit polls (which we probably shouldn't), it's those Conservative Democrats (aka, "white women") who've been giving her her few wins. She gets the nomination, they'll almost definitely stay in the Democratic camp in a general election. If Barack Obama gets it, maybe they decided they want something a little less shiny and new and creep on over to McCain.

Of course, professional pollsters will tell me I'm wrong. To which I say, "Y'all ain't doing so hot yourselves, now are you?"

Click on the image above for highlights of the results. Note that the results are indexed, so sites that are used by everyone across the board -- such as Google and Yahoo -- are filtered out. The networks-watched slide shows results for cable networks.
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