December 8, 2004
THERE WERE NO ADS ON C-SPAN & PBS:
How to Sell a Candidate to a Porsche-Driving, Leno-Loving Nascar Fan (KATHARINE Q. SEELYE, 12/06/04, NY Times)
After the 2000 presidential campaign, strategists for President Bush came to a startling realization: Democrats watch more television than Republicans. So by buying millions of dollars' worth of television advertising time, Republicans were spending their money on audiences that tended to vote Democratic.Posted by Orrin Judd at December 8, 2004 6:25 AM
What to do? With the luxury of four years until the next election, the Bush team examined voters' television-viewing habits and cross-referenced them with surveys of voters' political and lifestyle preferences.
This led to an unusual step for a presidential campaign: it cut the proportion of money that it put into broadcast television and diverted more to niche cable channels and radio, where it could more precisely reach its target audience. [...]
As the Bush team analyzed the data, stark differences between the viewing habits of Republicans and Democrats quickly emerged. The channels with the highest proportion of Democrats were Court TV and the Game Show Network; for Republicans, Speedvision and the Golf Channel.
During the week, Republicans switch off the tube earlier than Democrats do. (Republicans who stay up are more likely to tune in to Jay Leno, while Democrats flock to David Letterman.) Such revelations persuaded the Bush team to alter its media-buying strategy. In 2000, the campaign spent 95 percent of its media budget on network television; this year, that dropped to 70 percent.
The campaign spent no money on national cable channels in 2000; this year it spent $20 million. It spent very little on radio in 2000; this year it spent $12 million, much of it going to religious, talk and country music programming.
"This year, we reached a wider audience of potential Republicans than we did in 2000," said Matthew Dowd, a top strategist for Mr. Bush's re-election campaign.