News

Schwarzenegger targets the ‘ElimiDate Voter’

ElimiDate fans beware: You’ll likely be seeing a lot of Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger in the next two months.

That’s because Schwarzenegger’s political team has promised to mount the
biggest cable-advertising campaign in California history. And independent
voters, whom most analysts regard as the key to the governor’s re-election,
are watching elimiDate, and other reality-dating shows like it, more than
just about anything else on TV.
“We’re going to spend more on cable than anyone in California has ever
spent before,” Matthew Dowd, Schwarzenegger’s chief strategist, told the
Wall Street Journal last week.

The new focus on cable advertising is a response to a little-known–and
vexing–reality of buying political TV ads for Republican candidates:
Democrats watch more television than Republicans.

That simple fact first was discovered by President Bush’s top advisers,
including Dowd, following the 2000 presidential election.

In the four years leading up to Bush’s next campaign, his strategists
crafted a new, more targeted media plan that relied heavily on cable and
radio advertising, mediums where the campaign could better target a GOP
audience. By 2004, Bush’s campaign spending on cable and radio
advertisements had jumped sixfold, from 5 percent to 30 percent of the
advertising budget.

Now, Gov. Schwarzenegger’s re-election campaign–quarterbacked by Dowd,
former Bush confidant Steve Schmidt and media guru Alex Castellanos–is
drawing from Bush’s playbook, promising to invest record amounts in targeted
cable advertising in this year’s governor’s race.

“You figure out who your voters are in California and what they watch and
what they listen to.


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