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Bush vs Kerry Email Campaign Analysis: Bush Wins!
useit.com ^ | 07 November 2004 | Jakob Nielson

Posted on 11/08/2004 8:11:13 PM PST by stainlessbanner

Email Newsletters During Last Week of Presidential Campaign

(Sidebar to Jakob Nielsen's column "Bush vs. Kerry: Email Newsletters Rated," written November 7, 2004)

Once again, the candidate who scored highest on usability guidelines won the U.S. presidential election. (I did a similar comparison when Clinton defeated Dole; he also followed more usability guidelines on his website during the later parts of that campaign.)

Although I don't actually claim that Bush won purely because of usability, I do think that wise use of email newsletters contributed to his victory. I analyzed the email newsletters sent out by both candidates in the week prior to the election. The predominant theme of each message was distributed as follows:

Bush Kerry
Give Money 8% 57%

Get Out the Vote 38% 29%
Issues/Events 54% 14%

(I didn't count the message each candidate sent on or just before Election Day asking recipients for their vote.)

As this analysis shows, Kerry supporters were bombarded by repeated fundraising requests, to the extent that many of them probably tuned out the newsletter in the final critical days. Although the Internet is great for collecting money from the masses, there is a limit. Kerry exceeded it.

Bush sent more messages than Kerry asking supporters to get other voters to go to the polls and vote for him. This is a more appropriate use of the newsletter medium because it connects emotionally with subscribers. Being treated as an active participant in the civics process is more motivating than being regarded as an open wallet.

Bush also repeatedly sent out information that promoted himself and attacked his opponent in relation to current events (such as Osama bin Laden's video). This is a good strategy: offering newsworthy content makes subscribers more likely to continue opening newsletters. Up-to-the-minute arguments are a classic use of email and gave Bush's supporters fodder in their get-out-the-vote efforts, thus reinforcing the newsletter's value in getting voters to the polls.

A post-election newsletter from the Bush campaign estimated that their subscribers contacted 15 million other voters in person or by phone in the 72 hours before the polls closed.

In summary, Kerry used his newsletter to collect money during the final week. Bush used his to increase voter turnout, and he won because he was better at turning out his base. Understanding the strength of email newsletters thus directly contributed to Bush's victory, so his Internet team can claim some credit for the outcome.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: campaign; email; gwb2004; it; presidential

1 posted on 11/08/2004 8:11:14 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner

Ralph Nader (Independent/Reform) - 404,000
Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) - 382,000
Michael Peroutka (Constitution) - 131,000
David Cobb (Green) - 106,000
Leonard Peltier (Peace & Freedom) - 22,000
Roger Calero/Surrogate Ticket (Socialist Workers) - 12,000
Walt Brown (Socialist) - 10,000
Tom Harens (Christian Freedom) - 2,400
Bill Van Auken (Socialist Equality) - 2,200
Gene Amondson (Concerns of People/Prohibition) - 1,900
John Parker (Workers World) - 1,400
Charles Jay (Personal Choice) - 880
Andy Andress (Independent) - 760
Earl Dodge (Prohibition) - 135


Go Dodge Go!!!! YES!!!! WOoHOO!!!


2 posted on 11/08/2004 8:14:34 PM PST by GeronL (Congratulations Bush on your re-election VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: stainlessbanner
(I did a similar comparison when Clinton defeated Dole; he also followed more usability guidelines on his website during the later parts of that campaign.)

In the spring & summer of 1996, the public internet barely existed!

3 posted on 11/08/2004 8:15:37 PM PST by Seeking the truth ( www.0cents.com - Four More Years! Election Map 2004 tee shirt & other products!)
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To: GeronL

Losertarians couldn't beat Nader??? MAn Nader was on less ballots in less states. DOA to the Losers!


4 posted on 11/08/2004 8:17:49 PM PST by Bommer ( Bush met the First Lady at a BBQ? That's Love brotha!" - stainlessbanner)
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To: Bommer

Excellent Tag Line!


5 posted on 11/08/2004 8:19:18 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: Bommer

I think a lot of Libertarians voted for Bush


6 posted on 11/08/2004 8:19:30 PM PST by GeronL (Congratulations Bush on your re-election VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: stainlessbanner

I stole it from you my brutha! You got the credit!


7 posted on 11/08/2004 8:23:06 PM PST by Bommer ( Bush met the First Lady at a BBQ? That's Love brotha!" - stainlessbanner)
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To: GeronL

I tend to think that they came to their senses!


8 posted on 11/08/2004 8:23:40 PM PST by Bommer ( Bush met the First Lady at a BBQ? That's Love brotha!" - stainlessbanner)
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To: Bommer

Most libertarians I know voted for Bush, including myself. For example, in NC Badnarik got around 15k votes but Howe (LP gov) got around 60k.


9 posted on 11/08/2004 8:28:29 PM PST by rb22982
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To: stainlessbanner
I am on the e-mail list for the Dems and the GOP and have been for about 2 years, and in the six weeks prior to the election I received about 12 e-mails per week from the Dems and 4 per week from the GOP.

Somebody analyze that for me and tell me if that relates to the outcome of the election.
10 posted on 11/08/2004 8:32:11 PM PST by spinestein ("We have to go by our own rules, we'd rather be last than be wrong" by Dan Rather)
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To: GeronL

I'm more Libertarian than conservative and there was no way I was not going to vote for Bush. I couldn't just stand around and let that fool Kerry win, and Badnarek is a boob.


11 posted on 11/08/2004 8:36:58 PM PST by spinestein ("We have to go by our own rules, we'd rather be last than be wrong" by Dan Rather)
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To: spinestein

I'm glad you felt that way.

I wish more Libertarians felt the same way about the Washington governor's race.

The Libertarian vote will likely cost Dino Rossi the election.


12 posted on 11/08/2004 8:43:25 PM PST by MplsSteve
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