With the midterm election around the corner, you’ve probably been bombarded with reminders to vote by politicians, celebrities, family and friends. It’s no secret that in today’s world media is being used more than ever to run campaigns and win elections. But influence can only be won with bait that keeps you hooked long enough to reel you in, and California has been reeled into the polls like never before.
More Californians voted in 2016 than ever before. In fact, voter turnout in California was approximately 14.6 million or 75.27%, which is greater than the population of all but four U.S. states as of 2015. One factor driving turnout: the powerful influence of social media.
A study in 2012 found that when Facebook users in the U.S. were shown an “I voted” button alongside a social message indicating which of their friends had voted, they were much more likely to vote than if they were shown an informational message or no votes at all. Researchers concluded that this format led to about 340,000 extra real-world votes, a small but significant number when noting that the 2016 presidential election was decided by only 107,000 votes in three states.
Through this lens we can begin to understand why politicians, local governments, and sometimes (unfortunately) foreign governments have focused their campaign efforts on leveraging social media, for better or for worse. It is an unbelievably powerful tool that can be used to target specific voter blocks and favorably increase voter turnout.
As November 6th approaches, social media continues to boom, pushing more people to the polls. In fact, during the recent June primary election, California hit its highest percentage (37%) of midterm primary election votes in two decades. Cerrell is proud to be a part of this push, working with cities in Los Angeles and on state ballot measure campaigns. The work primarily involves educational voter outreach, but we continue to see and utilize social media in order to boost our client’s efforts… and it works.
So don’t underestimate the powerful influence of social media, and when you vote this weekend, be sure to post, share and like!
By Diane Padilla and Noam Leead