Are Live Events More Effective Than Social Media for Political Candidates?

By David Cohen Comment

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While social media has definitely carved a niche for itself in the political campaign process, good, old-fashioned meet and greets still stir the pot.

Self­-service ticketing and registration platform Eventbrite teamed up with research firm Ipsos on a survey of 3,025 U.S. adults aged 18 and over to determine the influence of social media and live events on their decisions to vote, donate or volunteer for candidates.

Some of the findings by Eventbrite and Ipsos included:

  • 18 percent of respondents have attended a political event in the past 12 months, including town halls, rallies, fundraisers, social gatherings and volunteer events for a political candidate, party or issue.
  • 34 percent follow politics via social media.
  • More than 75 percent of respondents who attended political events said the last one they attended made them want to take action in support of the candidate, party or issue; 76 percent said it made them want to talk to family or friends about the candidate, party or issue; 62 percent said it made them want to post on social media; 60 percent said it made them want to donate money; and 59 percent said it made them want to volunteer.
  • 83 percent said following a candidate, political party or issue on social media made them want to vote for a specific candidate.
  • 50 percent of millennials would rather meet a candidate in-person at an event than engage with them on social media, and 44 percent said candidates don’t appear authentic on social media.
  • Respondents who both attended events and followed politics via social media were more than twice as likely as the average American to discuss politics on social media over the next 12 months (82 percent versus 37 percent), and also more likely to donate (69 percent versus 25 percent) or volunteer (71 percent versus 20 percent).
  • When it comes to party affiliation, event-goers and social media followers are nearly identical. Event-goers are 44 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican and 24 percent Independent, while social media followers are 44 percent Democrat, 27 percent Republican and 23 percent Independent.
  • The winners of the “social media vote” are Bernie Sanders among millennials and women, Hillary Clinton among men and Donald Trump among baby boomers.
  • Learning more about a candidate, issue or topic was the primary motivation for attending events (54 percent) or following via social media (46 percent), followed by a desire to confirm their support (44 percent and 24 percent, respectively).

Eventbrite senior political and government relations manager Chad Barth said in a release introducing the study:

Our research found that the oldest form of campaigning is still incredibly powerful at driving people to action. While social media allows politicians to spread their message far and wide, events offer important connection points that can only be achieved in­person. Candidates, parties and issue­based organizations that can strike the right balance of both will ultimately have the most successful campaigns.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the findings by Eventbrite and Ipsos?

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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