Who Will You Be Voting For? (The Candidates Cast Their Ballot for Radio!)

With the primaries in our area almost here and November just around the corner, the season for political advertising is in full swing. Radio has always been a primary voice for candidates and issues, and this year is no exception.

How do politics and media usage mix in New York? Scarborough allows us to put New Yorkers under a microscope and highlights many of the reasons that radio has and continues to be a highly effective means of reaching voters. (All data here is from Scarborough, Release 2, Sept 2010-Aug 2011, New York, metro.)

Did you know that those New Yorkers who are registered to vote in their district of residence (80.1% of New York metro Adults 18+), use radio more on a weekly basis than any other major medium*? And that’s the case whether you are targeting younger voters or older voters. Among younger voters 18-24, the internet runs a close second, while broadcast television is second-most used among older voters 55-64.

Scarborough, Release 2 Sept 2010-Aug 2011, New York Metro

It’s no different for men vs. women. Radio leads other media in usage by both male and female registered voters, age 18+. Broadcast TV is a close second for both, followed by the internet.

Scarborough, Release 2 Sept 2010-Aug 2011, New York Metro

Now let’s examine the 72% of New Yorkers who say that they “always vote in presidential elections.” Among whites, African Americans, and Asians who put themselves in that category, radio is number one (radio and broadcast television are tied at the top among African Americans). As for Hispanics, broadcast TV is the top major media choice, followed by radio.

Scarborough Release 2 Sept 2010-Aug 2011, New York Metro

Those who say they “always vote in presidential elections” are 6% more likely than the overall population to be among the heaviest users of radio (those in Scarborough’s quintile #1 for radio).

Radio offers efficient targetability. Choose the right station to reach voters based on political party, geography, demographic, ethnic background and lifestyle. If targeting by political party, one size definitely does not fit all. For example, if you ranked the top ten stations in New York listened to by Republicans and the top ten stations listened to by Democrats, you’d find only six of ten stations in common on that list! Meantime, independent voters have more of their most popular stations in common with Republicans than Democrats. Add an element such as geography or ethnicity and the differences may become even more pronounced.

Additionally, certain stations may not show up on a top-10 ranker based on sheer audience size, but by looking at each station’s index, or efficiency factor, you’ll find stations that are highly efficient at delivering the voter you are targeting. In other words, the size of their audience may be below that of others, but a concentrated percentage of their listeners are the people you are targeting, so there is very little “waste” in your campaign.

Radio works for politics, and tapping into the wealth of qualitative data on the topic available in New York will make the medium work even more effectively this presidential election year. Sit down with your radio station account managers and have them walk you through the timely, local market qualitative information available for the variety of political categories available.


*Media usage categories used in Scarborough: Radio = Listened to radio Mon-Sun 6am-Mid Internet = Spent any time on the internet in an average week Broadcast TV = Watched any broadcast viewing (wk) Cable TV (non-premium) = Watched any non-premium cable (hardwired cable) (wk) Newspaper = Read any Dly/Sat/Sun newspapers in past 7 days