Local politicians avoid email, phone advertising, prefer soliciting in person
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
While President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney relied on email and telephone advertising to attract voters, local politicians in Delaware used face-to-face interactions to improve their chances of winning.
Democratic Nominee for Delaware State Senator Paul Baumbach said national nominees can access large databases containing email addresses and phone numbers. However, he said his campaign staff does not email voters due to the difficulty in finding such information.
He said sending mass emails is also ineffective because he cannot cater the email message to each individual voter. Politicians can pay for services that claim to have phone number and email lists, according to Baumbach, but his campaign staff does not use them.
He said he does not think making recorded phone calls is an effective way to get voters’ support either. He uses other means of the Internet and social media such as his campaign website, Facebook and Twitter.
“I don’t think you end up convincing too many people with Facebook,” Baumbach said. “But you can keep people charged up to continue helping.”
Joseph Schwartz, a political science professor at Temple University, said emails and phone contact is only useful if a voter has shown interest in the campaign.
Schwartz said emailing voters requires less people and time than phoning voters does but it still does not serve as an effective approach. Many people easily ignore and eventually delete the emails, he said.
“A lot of political organizations believe that personal door-to-door contact with voters if possible is most effective,” Schwartz said.
Baumbach said because voters can ignore unrecognized phone calls they see on their caller IDs, he relies primarily on traveling from door-to-door to speak with voters in person.
Once the candidate and the voter have met, Baumbach said the voter is more likely to listen to messages and read emails from the candidate.
According to Schwartz, political nominees usually contact people who have registered for the party. Since anyone can find registered voters information in most states, it is easier to get a hold of voters’ personal contact information than non-registered voters.
University alumna Jennifer Muzzi, who graduated last spring, said over the past few years she has received emails from Obama’s campaign. She said she gets them at least once a week and usually ignores them. The emails do not bother her as much as the phone calls she has received.
Muzzi said she is registered as an Independent voter and recently received a phone call from a local Democratic campaign asking her to complete a survey.
“The only thing that bothers me is how did these guys get my phone number because I have a cell phone,” Muzzi said.
She said the phone calls do not bother her though if a real person speaks on the other line.
Freshman Carolou Schlegel said she does not receive emails from politicians but receives multiple phone calls whenever an election is near. She said most calls she receives are friendly, recorded messages urging her to vote for the candidate, but she is not always happy to hear them.