Did Romney get caught napping?

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Republicans were list-less, an expert says.
Republicans were list-less, an expert says.

Could Mitt Romney have blown an opportunity to take over the White House for the unforgivable failure—for a politician—to have knocked on enough doors? Early post-election findings appear to indicate that his party's appeal to certain voter segments was lacking. The last successful Republican presidential candidate, George W. Bush in 2004, won 44% of the Hispanic vote. Romney managed to snare only 27% of the segment's votes, according to an unofficial exit poll by Edison Research. Additionally, the final pre-election poll taken by Gallup showed Romney with especially poor support among people ages 18 to 29 (36%) and women (43%).

GB Heidarsson, SVP of sales and marketing eDataSource, which analyzes the emails of more than 10,000 marketers, monitored the mailings of both candidates during the campaign and found the Romney organization lacking in the breadth of its appeals. Romney's list consisted of but four million individual supporters versus 40 million for Obama, Heidarsson says. What's more, he notes, the Obama campaign sent more total emails, at the rate of 20-to-1.

It wasn't just fringe segments Romney's people passed over, says Heidarsson, it was the conservative Republican base. “Obama was using all the lists the Democratic National Committee had, but we couldn't see—and we followed this closely—any list rentals or co-registrations for Romney,” he says.

To Heidarsson's way of thinking, a concerted marketing effort on Romney's part could have given him a victory. “What percentage of a 10-times-larger list would you have had to get to vote another way to actually win this election? The way I see it, the Romney campaign left a huge potential channel virtually untouched.”

What, for instance, might a few percentage points increase in the Hispanic vote in Florida done for Romney? Considering that nearly 200,000 more Hispanics call The Sunshine State home now than did during the last election, this could have been a state where a more concerted effort by Romney could have paid big dividends.

Young voters, too, proved particularly troublesome to Romney. Several pundits have opined that Romney was too old for the 18-to-29 crowd to relate to, though Ronald Reagan was 69 when first elected in 1980, compared to Romney's 65. Based on an exit poll taken Tuesday, Tufts University's Jonathon M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service posited that Romney would have won the election if he had gotten half the youth vote in swing states. Instead he managed to muster only 36% or less of their support in Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.


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