Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
On Tuesday, November 6th, 2012, the United States presidential election was held, alongside many federal elections, state, and local elections. The incumbent Barack Obama candidate for the Democratic Party has defeated the Republican Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts with 332-206 (Electoral College) and 51.38%- 48.61% (popular vote). In most cases, both candidates’ political positions were aligned as liberal and conservative ideologies. In the 2012 presidential election, both Obama and Romney spent over one billion dollars during their campaign. They have worked tremendously hard on mobilizing and targeting voters with the use of digital technology, however, the strategies used did not work well equally. Obama, a well-experienced politician who won a decisive victory over McCain in 2008, showed again in 2012 many different strategies and techniques of mobilizing and targeting throughout his campaign. Obama’s unique ways of communication to voters were incomparable and successful. His opponent Governor Mitt Romney on the other hand, a well-devoted politician and businessman who has a strong basic knowledge of the economic process, provided great ideas on tax reforms and other issues. Yet he failed to perform well upon his approaches. Romney had given his all and performed well on engaging and mobilizing online voters.
In terms of mobilizing and targeting voters, Obama was very successful. He sought to adopt a wonderful strategy of winning the election early. The incumbent has proven his capacity to gather all voters to get out to vote not only on mobilizing and targeting but presenting his economic platform and other policies. These consisted of focusing on general health care known as Obamacare, tax increase on the wealthy, budgeting, and immigration policy. On the other hand, Governor Romney who followed the conservative-lead of his party, presented his economy build up procedure and policies such as greater cuts to the largest government programs, repeal Obamacare. He tried to show his plans with a purpose of bringing up the economy, however, he failed to specify where the axe will fall. Obama’s strategy for targeting worked as planned. Obama’s re-election team has built a digital data operation which combines a unified database on voters with the power of Facebook to target voters individually to a very high degree. With the increase of social media, it is important that candidate have an easy and affordable way that allows voters to connect easily. Social media make it easy for voters to navigate and access their website. With the use of data analytics and experimental method which involves in manipulating a variable to determines changes cause by another to rally voters. It reverses the facade of advertising in the U.S. presidential campaign as a campaign similar to a local campaign with the idea of having voters’ interests known and addressed. Another words, that is what voters want: attention, participation, a way their voice can be heard, and make changes. Facebook was seen as a huge impact on communication between Obama’s campaign and voters. Thus, allowing supporters to log on to the campaign website gave automatically voters the ability to see themselves as a part of the campaign and the change. This database benefited his campaign to save money and on targeting voters. It directs online market at less cost and unlocking knowledge about individual voters. It also learns of voters who need to be targeted the most. In-depth exploration of the Democratic candidate’s website, it emphasizes his presidential status and personal qualities. It was very informative and specific. Under each tab contains specific information about his career and capability, issues, media, how to volunteer, etc. It includes a picture of his wife and pictures of active supporters. By using such creative ways of mobilization, they make it much easier on his campaign. Another important point here was how he was concerned about people’s voices, not only tell them to vote for him but to also provide various ways to be a part of the change and make sure to tell voters that it all depends on them. On his website in 2012, confirmed his ability to accomplish everything that he, in the beginning, promised.
In addition, his website provided updates about the campaigns, mobilization, and election process, messages: plan for the economy, delivering affordable health care. For instance, at the Election Day, information was provided to voters as if they were already in line, they should stay to vote, their votes matter, and can make a change. His website has included photographs of him meeting proponents, greeting people regardless of sex, gender, race etc. It gave a great insight of how his campaign was diverse. His website had the option to translate it into Spanish. That is a strong point of showing that everyone was included as part of the change. Based on all of these strategies, they made him appealing when it comes to targeting more voters.
His opponent Romney had a very hard time being nominated which sustained his time from starting to raise money early, move forward to the political center, then direct his campaign towards defeating his opponent Democrat- Barack Obama. Even as Romney reached fundraising uniformity with Obama, his campaign was still not aiming to match Obama’s campaign structure. His campaign team tried to follow Obama’s team analytical strategies which would never work. The Obama’s team had luxurious knowing on what they were actually doing because of their experience in the past few years. Taking a look at Romney’s website, we acknowledge his message “Americans deserve more jobs and more take-home pay, the Romney plans for a stronger middle class. Team Mitt” displayed on his website. These messages were nice and working, but not as Obama’s. Romney’s plan was not specific and laid as Obama’s was. Alongside, we can observe the lack of efficiency, his words used were too vague, and voters are looking for specific messages, like Obama’s. Romney’s website did a good job of providing certain information to voters, but it failed to give voters updates and quick messages since voters are lazy to read. The website had more pictures of himself than of supporters. It included were tabs such as bio, issues, states, communities, news, videos, get involved, and shop. The website included an option to translate in Spanish which played a positive role in targeting voters. As a comparison of both candidates’ websites, both did an amazing job on teaching people about their campaign, ways to support etc. However, because Obama’s was more specific and informative, his website remained more effective. Candidates’ website gets a lot of views; it is important to update messages, talk to your voters, and have your supporter’s photos seen. We estimate the effectiveness of one candidate more than the other.
Candidates’ stance on issues plays a major role on how voters vote as well as how they differentiate each candidates. There are many different issues, it’s impossible for the elected president to solve all of them. However, a majority of them are expected to solve. Environment/ energy, economy, education, abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage, social security/Medicare etc. were presented. Some of the biggest issues are the economy/unemployment, America is missing a lot of jobs, and there is much trade over many countries. Obama’s plans were to bring overseas jobs to the U.S., use short-term spending to promote growth. In the other hand, Romney’s solution was to cut the corporate tax rate, more trade deals, and repeals recent laws regulating finance industry. Another issue was same-sex marriage. Obama’s plan was to legalize it, make it recognized at the federal level. However, Romney was against same sex; he believed that it should be banned with a constitutional amendment. According to the William Institute by estimation, we have seen a high increase into the LGBT community, 47% voted in favor of Obama and 45% in favor of Romney (The Williams Institute- UCLA school of law; Gallup Special Report: The LGBT Vote in the 2012 Presidential Election). These findings show the highly democratic LGBT votes can swing voters. The way candidate stands on issues matter. Healthcare is another big issue, Obama’s plan was to reduce useless Medicare spending. Romney remained the opposite, his standard was to replace Medicare with a fixed payment. A candidate’s stance on issues is very important, as it helps voters to decide whether to support or not. It is important to focus on matters related to America as a whole.
The candidates’ website is as important as other parts of his campaign. The website is designed to give information about the candidate, his plans, and is used to reach out to voters. Voters are normally referring to their website for important updates, objectives etc. Many different ways are displayed for a candidate to target voters, in the 2012 campaign election, both candidates used social media to target voters. Yet, Obama remains most successful because he started early advertisements and he gathered data that would lead them to target specific voters. Obama spent less money on advertisement because he bought data in advance. “The Republican strategy of waiting until late to place its commercials created great inefficiencies in ad expenditures. In some states such as Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin, Republicans outspent Democrats by three-to-two but reached fewer people,” (Scripted Writer Darrel M. West).
Obama spent about 10 percent of his advertising budget on digital outreach through Facebook, Google, and Bing, which was noticeably higher than Romney. According to writer Darrel M. West: “This allowed the campaign to engage in highly targeted outreach and reach people beyond the traditional electorate.” (Darrell M. West, Tuesday, November 6, 2012, Communications lessons from the 2012 Presidential Elections).This expanded the Democratic base and gave the President an advantage in certain states. Obama stance on the middle class and the LGBT rights make him more relatable to the people. His consistency and game plan swing indecisive and independent voters. Romney upon his experience as a businessman and a Governor has failed to perform well comparing to Obama. He used social media to target voters, he followed Obama’s path by engaging and targeting online voters in spite of being heavily outspent. Throughout his campaign, not everyone felt included, a mass appeal of all demographics were needed to complete a successful voters turnouts. Obama succeeded these strategies which play a major role on him winning the election.
In political debates, candidates have the opportunity to face their opponent in front of a mass of people with a purpose of presenting their ideas, stands on issues, and plans for their future term if elected. They play a significant role when choosing who wins the elections. Debate questions are also important because it relates to the candidates’ stances, which we talked about earlier. From debate questions, we can analyze the candidate’s standards on things concerning the country as a whole. While inspecting the 2012 debate between Obama and Romney, there were a lot of similarities. In their second presidential debate, while Romney thought he got a leg up when accusing Obama of making investments in China, the real winner appeared the president, after admitting to have invested in Chinese firms. Obama who had experience as previously elected in 2008, showed much more confidence than his opponent. Obama did a good job laying out the ways he will bring overseas jobs in the U.S, cut taxes, and make healthcare more affordable. On the other hand, Romney followed along his conservative side opposing too many options presented by Obama such as replacing Medicare with a fixed payment, and being against same-sex marriage. He was a little broad on explaining his plan towards bringing the economy higher, bringing new jobs and more take-home pay. When it comes to debate performances, Romney’s first great performance came along in the first debate forum, he came across as a personally engaging and political moderate. Obama, the incumbent at first his performance was really ineffective and low, but restrained by its weak performance. He came back to the second and third debate rounds and finished strong. Obama was very consistent and neat. In comparison, they both make several great points, but not equal. Obama agreed on creating a legal path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants; he was against the deportation of illegal immigrant youths. However, Romney was against creating a legal path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants instead, he wanted to build US-Mexico border fence and sanction companies who hire illegal workers. America as a country built off immigrants, it would be terrible to not accommodate them a legal way to stay. There are certain jobs that Americans refuse to work at. Immigrants, when first arriving to the country, are obligated to do them; it’s at their dispositions. Not allowing them a legal way to become a part of this nation would increase the amount that comes daily illegal. The monitor gave both times to debate back and forth to each other, it gave the audience to see the dominated one. The topics discussed were appealing to the audience as each question are important for America’s future. Other topics include abortion, taxes, foreign policy, and currently facing issues in the U.S. Watching these forum debates would give voters insight on how to vote and whom to vote for.
It is impossible for a campaign to run without fundraising. Money is another way people use to let their voice heard and make a difference. Obama used a smart way of getting everyone involved to his campaign, “small donors.” “Obama raised more money in aggregate from small donors — $56.7 million — than Romney raised overall” (Dan Eggen, February 8, 2012; Obama fundraising powered by small donors, new study shows). Nearly half of these donors gave $200 or less.” By using those tactics, they allow anyone to have a say on his campaign which is what everyone wants. “Romney, by contrast, raised two-thirds of his $56.3 million from donors who gave $2,500, the maximum allowed by an individual to a candidate under Federal Election Commission rules.” The funds raised by Romney in the 2012 campaign election was 449,886,513, and the amount raised for Obama was $722,393,592. Romney’s small individual contribution $80,058.900 and large individual contribution 223,763,915; Obama’s small individual contribution $234,388,190 and large individual contribution $315,192,451. Seeing the difference between the amounts raised by each shows the high percentage of chance for Obama to win the election. Money gets your message to voters, it makes the connection easier and faster. For instance, TV ads, flyers, app, and games are all about money. Obama achieved that by raising a great amount of money allowing him to reach out to as many voters as possible. The incumbent Obama was re-elected for a second term as the president of America in 2012. He has shown his devotion; his strategies worked as planned. His campaign team had a great experience on how to target voters, how to raise money, get people involved, and get out to vote. Obama has shown his plans to voters by laying them out specifically to earn their vote. Romney, on his side, tried hard, followed Obama social media strategy, but failed to perform them equally. There were many issues that were seen differently between both candidates along the debate forums which made it hard for the candidate when especially the audience got to choose whom they can relate more and could believe in.
Obama’s team strategy remains unchanged: he focused on finding data as an overview to target and convince undecided voters. “Obama, Facebook, and the power of friendship” he had used Facebook a unified/ popular computer data based that collect millions of potential voters’ information and interests. He used this platform as a strategy to target voters to a very high extent incomparable to his previous campaign. By using this platform, it makes it more manageable and easy to reach out to voters. It also allows voters to log on to the campaign website for donation. Social media had played a major role in the 2012 Obama campaign. Facebook became ubiquitous, we saw the positive effect it made. His campaign gave voters the opportunity to volunteer which include in the targeting process.
Obama’s biggest strengths were the ability of his team to attract voters with his relatable plans. He was very confident and made supporters a part of his campaign through volunteering and donations. Also, he has benefited from not having to fight for his nomination in 2012. Certain seen his healthcare reform as his weakness but he was fighting for the middle class, for an equal affordable healthcare for everyone. Romney campaign strength was the amount of money he raised, as without money, there is no camping. He was able to reach out to his voters as well. His weakness was his failure in presenting his plans during forum debates. Romney’s campaign did not make a good connection with the people. The overall campaign was interesting and informative as it covers issues related to everyone; there always a winner and a looser, only the most effective wins.