Saturday, October 20, 2007

Obama campaign strategy

After having discussed Barack Obama's campaign with some other supporters, I've been musing a bit over campaign strategy.

One thing I've been hearing a lot is that Barack isn't edgy enough, that he's taking too much of an intellectual approach to the campaign. They want to see that game face, the posture and behavior of someone who already feels they own the office. My suspicion is that Obama may be saving something for the "fourth quarter" as its difficult to keep energies at high levels for a sustained periods of time. However, that's just a feeling.

Possibly, Obama's handlers could be pushing their candidate a bit too hard wearing him out in the process. It's probably better to be at your best and create a buzz at fewer events than to fail to impress at a larger number of venues. Image is everything in electoral campaigns.

Focusing, targeting

Obama observers know that the senator is to concentrating a lot of resources and energy toward an Iowa strategy.

Is he doing enough, though, in other early states or other major states? I've heard this question a lot also.

There will be less time than usual to build up support after early state voting. On Feb. 5, 2007, the election will likely be decided. Right now, it looks like a three-way race and the third place finisher in Iowa will be in a big hole. But there will be a chance to recover in Nevada before the very important New Hampshire primary.

New Hampshire is often seen as the king-maker state, but in the last two open primary elections, eventual winners Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both lost in the Granite State. I think South Carolina will be the most important state this time around. If a candidate does reasonably well in the first three states and wins in South Carolina, they should have the momentum going into Super Duper Tuesday (Feb. 5).


Television advertising this early is probably not very effective. Those people who are paying attention, read newspapers, visit campaign websites, etc. and are unlikely to be swayed by tv ads.

Those who are not paying attention are the classic last-minute decision-makers. They are not making the effort to register anything on their mental hard drives.

When the election nears and they have to make a decision they will begin focusing on the candidates.

Television ads now are probably mainly to appease poll-watchers among Obama's supporters, especially the big contributors. This is unfortunate because its expensive to change poll numbers with tv ads. You want to hit the last minute folk when they are in the decision-making process, not now months before Christmas. But then again, the Iowa caucus is so close after the holidays that it becomes confusing when to advertise.

Do you message Iowa voters with "seasons greetings" type ads?

Michigan and Florida

To add to the confusion, the states of Michigan and Florida have moved their polls up before Feb. 5.

These are states with large delegations and obviously the campaign cannot ignore them. However, at the same time the Democratic National Convention has been threatening not recognize Florida's delegates if they don't move their primary back.

So you also don't want to get burned by committing too much in these states. Probably a safe plan is to take them as Super Duper states as they may eventually reschedule their voting back to Feb. 5.

A good campaign strategy in my view would be to budget enough money to do well in the first three states culminating in a victory in South Carolina. You would want to have enough money left over to at least keep your offices running until Super Duper Tuesday. There is only about a week to raise money and buy ads between South Carolina and Feb. 5.


Obama's key strategic issues are the Iraq War and the environment.

He is locked in a tight race with Hillary Clinton in wooing high technology voters. He also does well among people in higher education, although Clinton is attracting the teachers' unions.

The issues that seem to clearly offer the best hope for distinguishing himself from the other candidates is his consistent opposition to the Iraq War, and his general favorable position among environmental voters.

In my view, he needs to work this base of support more than trying to reach out in other directions. Not that he can't reach out, but a campaign needs to focus on key issues and keep repeating them to drive their points home.


Carrington said...

It's interesting; my experience is that Obama hasn't gotten all that much traction amongst 'green' voters, this in spite of his high LCV rating.

Probably part of the problem is that Bush II made Clinton I look good -- something of an accomplishment -- and greens, unlike peaceniks, don't have a specific Clinton vote to call the Clinton record into question..

I'm not sure what is going on with this, but it seems like an area where the campaign could make significant gains.

Mark said...

Regardless of the critiques flying around out there, Obama's campaign has clearly been able to reach voters on all levels. His ability to inspire citizens on all levels is unlike anything we've seen before.

Take for example the following he has online. Across all kinds of social networks, blogs, forums, news websites, Barack Obama has consistently had the strongest following, even since back in June. Its displayed here, in this study done by an internet consulting company

As you can see, Barack is also beating McCain in this arena. This study predicted that Obama would get the nomination, who's to say it won't do the same with the presidency?

Anonymous said...

glad Barack didn't follow your advice to save just enough money for the Feb 5th Super Tues... I guess Hillary did though. Hindsight is always 2020

albie said...

obama is all talk.. the convention is week

Richard said...

I've contacted Wikipedia and I'm changing the name of this disease to Obamaism:

The term is derived from the Greek myth of Narcissus. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. As punishment, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus pined away and changed into the flower that bears his name, the narcissus.

James said...

Stay on the Republicans -- everyone can relate to their miserable track record and the pain it's caused. Here's the way to go on a campaign ad that delivers the knock out blow, linking McCain and the Republican party:
First, chronicle the miserable Republican record using compelling images (lines of people filing for unemployment, the floor of the NYSE in turmoil, the billboard showing the national debt total and counting, explosions in Iraq and Afganistan, Republicans in Congress arguing with each other, etc.) and commentary that essentially pleads for "no more". Next, follow these images and commentary with a black screen that fades in the white words: "No More Republican Pain" then, "No on John McCain". With music, this slogan even has the potential as a jingle -- and we all know how powerful a jingle can be. Or it could also be a chant... You get the idea. Essentially, Obama has to quit defending and instead, in a simple straight-forward way, bring home the devastation wrought by a Republican administration the last eight years -- the pain -- the deep down, visceral pain that even Republicans have felt. Make McCain defend the Republicans -- his campaign will die trying.

natto said...

Obama needs to keep focusing on the economy and relate the Mc Cain strategy to further worsening of the situation. The middle class needs breaks. As far as the surge this was not the main cause for the change in fortunes but it was the difference in approach in terms of reaching agreements with Sunni groups and their split with Al Queda in Iraq. This came after more than 4000 have lost their lives.
I get the impression that President Bush never understood the significance of the position of the leader of the free world and so does Mc Cain.
I call them John Bush and George Mc Cain because they can use each other name. They are the same.

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