2015 Fears and Hopes – 15 State Survey of Who’ll Bring Us to War, Who’ll Bring Us to Prosperity

NextStageologists spent the first week of Jan 2012 talking to voters in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. We asked them four questions and observed their responses to seven statements.

  1. Response Required – Are you a registered voter?
  2. Response Required – Will you be voting for a president in the next presidential election?
  3. Observed Response – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and Newt Gingrich has been President of the United States for about two years.
  4. Observed Response – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and Jon Huntsman has been President of the United States for about two years.
  5. Observed Response – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and Barack Obama has been President of the United States for about two years.
  6. Observed Response – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and Ron Paul has been President of the United States for about two years.
  7. Observed Response – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and Rick Perry has been President of the United States for about two years.
  8. Observed Response – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and Mitt Romney has been President of the United States for about two years.
  9. Observed Response – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and Rick Santorum has been President of the United States for about two years.
  10. Response Required – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and we are at war with another country. The United States is in a major depression and the job market has collapsed. Who is President of the United States?
  11. Response Required – It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and we are experiencing unprecedented growth, personal prosperity like we haven’t seen since the Clinton years. Everybody who wants a job has one, there’s Universal Health Care, college education is practically free and we’re exporting more than we’re importing. Who is President of the United States?

Each research team consisted of three individuals; the interviewer, a near observer standing within earshot, able to see the interview and on a cellphone recording their verbal notes on the exchange and a far observer making notes on the interviewee’s social and behavioral responses. No one was “approached” in the common sense. Instead the interviewer (for example) would be reading a paper or newssite on their mobile at a train, bus or subway stop, make some comment about the upcoming elections then engage someone standing close by in a friendly conversation. We favored people with teenage and younger children as it provided a “common ground” for the ensuing conversation/interview.

The results are shown graphically below followed by interview notes.

New Year's Eve 2015 - Social/Behavioral Responses by Candidate
New Year’s Eve 2015 – Social/Behavioral Responses by Candidate
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New Year's Eve 2015 - Which President is Helping Us?
New Year’s Eve 2015 – Which President is Helping Us?
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New Year's Eve 2015 - Which President is Hurting Us?
New Year’s Eve 2015 – Which President is Hurting Us?
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There was an almost universal non-conscious negative demonstration (pursed lips, pulling out of or back from from interview space, sighs with shrugs, furrowed brows, nostril flaring, tightening of jaws, subvocalizations, et cetera) when participants considered futures governed by Perry, Romney or Santorum. Paul and Gingrich got almost identical marks in the “He will be good for the country” category while the real winner was Huntsman, the candidate who “nobody’s heard of”. Most people we encountered had heard of him and thought favorably of him while admitting he didn’t have much of a chance in the current big money big spend political environment.

Obama also did quite well in our interviews although most participants stated a doubt that the two parties would be able to get anything done and the brunt of this inactivity would be on Obama’s shoulders.

Gingrich is the candidate least likely to hurt the country should they achieve office. Romney and Santorum may be neck-and-neck in some polls and they’re also neck-and-neck in the “Who’s going to hurt us?” responses.

Gingrich and Obama got close and best scores in the “Who’s going to help us?” responses with Perry performing worst in this category. Huntsman, Paul, Romney and Santorum are in a “statistical dead heat” in this category.

Vote well, folks.

As Votes Iowa So Votes…Who?

We took a snapshot of the candidates political sites on 30 Dec 2011 and today, 3 Jan 2012, Iowa Caucus day, with various NextStage tools. Here’s some of what we learned.

Who Changed Their Tune for the Iowa Caucuses?

NextStage's Resume Rater ToolNextStage’s Resume Rater tool evaluated each candidate’s site as if it was being used to apply for a job. What we learned is that some of the candidates change their interview style based on who’s interviewing them for a job (the nation or Iowa).

Candidate RichPersona 30 Dec 11 RichPersona 3 Jan 12
Michele Bachmann V12 V12
Herman Cain V9 V1
Newt Gingrich K16 K16
John Huntsman V10 V10
Gary Johnson A1 A1
Ron Paul V8 V8
Rick Perry K10 K12
Buddy Roemer V9 V9
Mitt Romney K10 K16
Rick Santorum K15 V9

NextStage's SampleMatch ToolWhat’s amusing is that NextStage’s SampleMatch Tool indicates that the only candidates “talking the Iowa talk” are Senator Bachmann, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman, none of whom plan on doing well in the Iowa Caucuses.

Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum demonstrated the greatest shifts in their communication styles. Dropping out of the race probably accounts for Cain. Romney and Santorum may be working to find the right “voice” to convince Iowa voters.

Gender Wise?

NextStage's Political Analyzer ToolWe used NextStage’s Political Analyzer Tool to determine gender and age targeting by candidate.

Iowa is a fairly gender neutral state, meaning the voting population (as of 2009) was almost 50/50 Female/Male. Accordingly, all the listed candidates are within a few notches of targeting a 50/50 gender audience…

…except Ron Paul is strongly male oriented at about 71.5% Male, 28.5% Female. Somewhat odd for an obstetrician and gynecologist? Perhaps familiarity breeds contempt? Perhaps his wife should take a more active role in his campaign?

Age Wise?

Age Targeting by Candidate 30 Dec 2011
Age Targeting by Candidate 30 Dec 2011

Age Targeting by Candidate 3 Jan 2012
Age Targeting by Candidate 3 Jan 2012

Iowa Age Demographics (2009)
Iowa Age Demographics (2009)

The interesting shift here is Perry’s move from a 25-34yo target audience to a 35-54yo target audience. This is a smart move considering the age demographics of Iowa.

And We Received this YouTube Video