When it comes to using radio, the old school political playbook has been to use it in the home stretch of the campaign to get out the vote and reinforce messaging airing on TV. But a new case study involving a pair of well-known gubernatorial candidates from both sides of the political spectrum makes a strong argument for not waiting until the last few weeks of the campaign to hit the AM/FM airwaves.
In Arkansas Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) logged radio activity in March, well before the political window even opened in her state and more than two months prior to the state primary. Ditto for Stacey Abrams (D) in Georgia. Not only has radio been a major part of their marketing efforts, both candidates bucked the trend and introduced radio advertising much earlier in the election cycle.
Going under the hood of both campaigns, Katz Radio Group says it uncovered evidence that the strategy of using radio early and often is helping these candidates build support and win votes.
“For both the Huckabee Sanders and Abrams campaigns, radio is playing a major role in energizing the base and laying groundwork for the November general election,” Katz says in a new insights piece on its Sound Answers blog.
So how did these “early and often” radio efforts influence voters? To find out, Katz conducted online surveys in Arkansas and Georgia among likely primary-goers during the week leading into the May 24th primaries. The results of the study, it says, showed that radio advertising “successfully increased voter intention for both candidates.”
Georgians who heard Stacey Abrams' radio campaign were 19% more likely to vote for her compared to those who did not hear her radio ads. And in Arkansas, primary-goers saw a 13% increase in intention to vote for Sarah Huckabee Sanders among those that heard her radio campaign compared to those who did not.
“Stacey Abrams and Sarah Huckabee Sanders show that candidates from both sides of the political spectrum stand to benefit from using AM/FM radio to engage with voters,” Katz concludes. “They both invested early in key markets, getting their message out early for primaries, and setting a firm stage for the November elections.”