New Census Bureau data estimate that the U.S. Hispanic population reached 54 million as of July 1, 2013, and it is no surprise that there is much talk about the power of the Hispanic voters and their impact on the upcoming midterm elections. From the Obama campaign’s “Digital First” strategy to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s 2012 re-election campaign tactics, much has been written on how to win over the corazónes of the Hispanic voters. Yet, despite the growing importance of Hispanics in the digital space, some political campaigns are still relying heavily on mail, billboards or boots on the ground to get their message out, rather than a multifaceted approach to connect with Hispanic voters through culturally relevant content online and offline. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, there will be 42 million Hispanics online by 2015, which will represent 73% of the Hispanic population and 16 percent of the total online users in the United States. A survey published by Pew Research Center in 2013 also showed that 86% of U.S. Hispanics own a mobile phone and 76% of them use a mobile device to go online. Adult Hispanic mobile users are twice as likely as non-Hispanic users to be interested in receiving ads on their phone, and 58% of them have engaged in mobile commerce. That speaks volume about the need for campaigns to use digital media to reach Hispanic voters.
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Another study from Pew Research Center revealed that 80% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. use social media. Six out of ten internet users ages 50-64 are social media users, as are 43% of those ages 65 and older. Additionally, according to Facebook’s Internal Data published in September 2013, 23 million Hispanics are active on Facebook every month and they outpace the overall U.S. subscriber base on mobile usage, frequency and overall engagement.
Campaigns can use social sentiment and predictive analytics to give campaign staff more information on what the Hispanic voters care about, how they will vote, and how to effectively message the campaign’s mission to them. The 2014 special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, which Republican David Jolly emerged as the winner against former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, is a good example for the application of social analytics. PsyID conducted a social analysis of voters from the district over several months leading up to the election, and their data consistently showed that Republican David Jolly was leading the social sentiment. Among the registered voters in the district, 39.25% of them shared positive sentiment for Alex Sink, while David Jolly led with a 46.2% positive sentiment. The social data showed what the district’s voters were talking about on social media and provided accurate predictive analytics. With a keen understanding of digital targeting and a data-centric approach, campaigns can improve their targeting efforts and increase their chances of winning the hearts of the Hispanic electorate.