In my experience, voters today are more skeptical than ever and want to feel confident they’re getting the facts from reliable sources. As a result, it can be difficult for campaigns to convince voters to trust the information they are receiving on political advertising channels.
In an effort to learn more about current voter perceptions on political advertising channels – including television, digital and direct mail – and to determine how to use political advertising to build trust with voters, the United States Postal Service® commissioned a survey of 1,813 registered voters immediately following the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kentucky and Louisiana.* The research was especially relevant because each state featured highly competitive gubernatorial elections with incumbent governors – one from each political party.
The results were released in our most recent whitepaper, Building Trust with Voters: In a Time of Heightened Skepticism, New Research Reveals Voters Still Trust Political Mail and emphasized how voters want information that they can trust is accurate and honest. It also highlighted the following actionable insights for campaigns:
Utilize political mail to ensure voters are staying informed on the issues.
When registered voters were asked about political mail, more than half (58%) chose direct mail to be more factual than any other type of political advertising. Trust, facts, and believability all rank high with mail – more than 7 in 10 surveyed voters said they would trust mail about a candidate’s biography, stance on issues, and legislative record. In addition, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation sited mail as the most believable medium, while African Americans and Gen Z voters rated mail as very or somewhat believable.
Incorporate targeted political mail as part of your integrated campaign strategies.
Most campaigns know a winning strategy includes a mix of media and that incorporating political mail is the most effective approach. We found that political mail complements other political advertising: a majority (57%) said that mail reinforced the ads they saw on TV and got them to pay closer attention to those ads, while nearly half said mail led them to search online for more information. Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X voters were more likely than older voters to acknowledge the power of mail in supplementing TV and online political messages.
Don’t wait to leverage political mail.
In addition, the research showed that more voters are deciding whom to support earlier than previous elections. Six out of 10 surveyed voters said they made up their minds about whom to vote for a few months or more before the election and one in four decided in the last month before the election. Women and older voters, such as Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, were more likely to make up their minds earlier (63%) than men (56%) and Gen Z and Millennial voters (52%).
Read the full findings on how to build trust with voters through political mail and other advertising channels – and also learn more about the Postal Service’s latest tools, technologies, and innovations that can maximize direct mail’s impact – at DeliverTheWin.com.
*All data from the Summit Research post-election survey on behalf of the Postal Service™ among 1,813 actual voters in Kentucky and Louisiana, conducted immediately following the 2019 general elections.