Despite being bombarded by TV ads in the final days of the 2014 midterm campaigns, undecided voters (yes, they do exist) are going online before they decide how to cast their ballots.
In a new study by Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, Democratic firm Global Strategy Group and Google, “persuadable” voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina were polled to find out where they were getting information about candidates.
The study found that 50 percent of voters hear about candidates on television, then they hit the Web.
Sixty-six of the persuadable voters use the Internet to vet candidates, 55 percent use it to find candidate positions on issues and 54 percent said the Internet gives them the information they need before they cast their ballots.
At the end of all that research, 47 percent of persuadable voters said the information they see or read on the Internet affects how they vote.
These voters also are beginning to use YouTube to help inform their decisions. Of those surveyed, 35 percent said they have watched news-related videos or political shows on YouTube and 28 percent said they had watched a candidate's online video or visited a candidate’s YouTube channel.
The study was conducted Oct.14 - to 22 among 100 undecided voters or “soft" supporters of a candidate in each of the five states.
Earlier this year, POS/GSG/Google released a report concluding that the country had reached a “tipping point” in the contest between live television and other ways to watch video.
Although campaigns have started to move toward more online advertising, they still rely heavily on traditional television advertising.
The new results are similar to a POS/GSG/Google 2012 survey conducted in Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin in the final weeks of the general-election campaign.
That study found 64 percent of persuadable voters used the Internet to check claims made by a candidate and that 62 percent of these voters trusted the information they found online.
The 2012 study concluded, “As campaigns fight for persuadable voters’ attention in the weeks leading up to Election Day, this data suggests that the Internet is a key channel on which to reach them at a time when they are looking for information and are willing to listen. Persuadable voters are online.”