In today’s fast-paced world it can be difficult for campaigns to stand out, especially when voters are sent messages from a variety of platforms, including print, TV, radio and digital. It is essential to get the campaign media mix right. Political mail uniquely enhances other channels, while also standing out as memorable to voters.
Immediately following the 2018 Midterm Elections, the United States Postal Service commissioned a survey conducted by Summit Research of 821 Florida voters and 803 Ohio voters (November 6-11, 2018), with the results weighted to exit poll data. The results detail political mail’s distinct role as the most memorable, credible and impactful format examined and can be read in our whitepaper, The Media Mix: Integrating Mail to Influence Voters. The findings also demonstrate that mail is fundamental to any campaign as checking the mail is a routine, established behavior that influences voters through every phase of the process.
We gained valuable insights from this survey of Florida and Ohio voters:
Mail is among the most memorable forms of political outreach.
The average American checks their mailbox daily, with 83% of surveyed voters indicating that they check their mailbox at least 5 times a week. Nearly half (47%) of surveyed voters agreed that political mail was “the most memorable form of political advertising I received during the midterm elections.” The survey also revealed that 79% of voters recall receiving political mail daily or weekly – second only to TV (93%) and significantly higher than all digital formats.
Mail drives voters to take action during every phase of the campaign.
We found 72% of voters said that political mail increased their awareness of the candidates and 66% said political mail was a helpful starting point to learn about a candidate and their positions. Nearly half (47%) said that political mail had an impact on their voting decision and 60% said that it made them a more informed voter. Finally, 77% said that political mail was a helpful resource for voting registration deadlines.
Mail heightens the media mix, enhancing TV ads and digital formats.
Mail enhances voter curiosity in other campaign channels. Half of surveyed voters said that they would search online for more information about the campaign or candidates mentioned in their political mail. Additionally, 56% said that political mail reinforced the TV ads they’d seen in support and/or in opposition to a candidate.
Mail delivers credibility to skeptical voters.
In an era of “fake news” it is paramount for campaigns to ensure that they are sending their messages to voters through a credible source. When asked to rank the credibility of political advertising techniques, more than half (57%) chose direct mail as the most credible. These results are similar to those from the Postal Service’s 2017 Virginia Gubernatorial Election survey, where two-thirds of Virginia voters said that direct mail was the most credible form of political outreach during the election.
Mail is particularly impactful to Minorities, Millennials and Women.
African American and Hispanic voters are more likely than White voters to find political mail credible and impactful.
Millennial voters are more likely than previous generations to say that political mail informed their voting decision. We found that 60% of Millennials said political mail was impactful when making a voting decision and 67% said it drove them to search online for more information about the campaign, compared to 51% of Gen Xers and 46% of Boomers.
Women are more likely than men to say that political mail increased their awareness of which candidates were running (75%) and drove them to search online for information about the campaign (53%).
The survey revealed that voters view political mail as memorable, credible and impactful, especially among Millennials, minorities and women. But those are just a few of the insights we gained from this research. Download the full whitepaper to learn more: The Media Mix.
Talk with an expert at the Postal Service about the advantages of using political mail and how to apply insights from this research to your own campaign. For more information about the survey, please visit our website.
*Statistics are sourced from a joint whitepaper by USPS® and American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), The Media Mix: Integrating Mail to Influence Voters. The research surveyed 821 Florida voters and 803 Ohio voters immediately after the midterm elections (November 6-11, 2018) with the results weighted to exit poll data.