Political campaigns are shifting to text messages to contact voters. The method is easy, inexpensive, and it almost guarantees the recipients will read the messages.
For the 2020 race, Democrats and Republicans alike budget millions and send thousands of personnel and volunteers to text with dedicated and future supporters. Bernie Sanders sent almost nine times as many text messages as his previous 2016 campaign.
The usage of text messages for political parties and groups has risen steeply in recent years because of modern technologies and the simplicity and reliability of contacting voters.
It is challenging to measure the open rates of text messages for campaign and marketing purposes, but survey self-reports place the number between 80 and 90%. Gartner mentions surveys that have measured open rates at 98%. In comparison, the open rates of email marketing vary from 10 to 20 per cent.
Campaigns can text you just like how your friends and relatives contact you. Because several mobile phone numbers of Americans are now in voting databases, campaigns will submit messages even though you never signed up to receive them.
Combined with modern technology that enables campaign workers and volunteers to deliver personalized text messages rapidly, the phenomenon of “peer-to-peer” messaging is becoming increasingly common.
Although younger voters might be more inclined to take part in longer text-based conversations, practically anyone under the age of 50 can reply to political messages coming in on their smartphones. Data shows that texting may have a greater impact on slightly older voters, politically speaking.
According to a text messaging survey on the 2018 midterms by the independent digital advocacy group Tech for Elections, eligible voters aged 26 and younger who were contacted by a candidate turned out to vote 4 points more often than non-voters. The analysis found that voters between 27 and 50 years of age turned out to be almost 8 per cent greater than people in the same age category that were not texting.
The willingness to communicate with people at the other end of the phone line becomes much more important. Peer-to-peer messaging imitates what field managers do when contacting potential volunteers or knocking on doors, but with a new productivity. That does not mean the end of real-life political campaigning with phone banking, canvassing, and sending fundraising emails. Texting is a new way of communicating with the voters, particularly younger ones.