NRA’s Outreach to the Undecideds

Adage has a really good profile on NRA’s recent campaign expenditures targeting undecided/low information voters in swing states. Here are some highlights:

[NRA has] invested upwards of $11 million this fall in TV, radio and online ads (not including a direct-mail and phone piece) aimed at undecided voters in the usual-suspect list of swing states that includes Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin and Virginia. A hefty 32% of that budget has been allotted for digital, including pre-roll video ads, full-page interstitial ads on news sites like, and page skins on Pandora, according to Brad Todd, a partner at the Republican media shop On Message Inc., which is handling the buying in electronic channels. …

[I]t’s suburban men who aren’t active hunters or shooters but who agree with the NRA philosophically or on the grounds of self-defense who are the focus of the ad campaign, which entered full throttle in October and will continue through Election Day. A decision was made to invest heavily in sports content and to mostly eschew news, a departure from the tack taken by Priorities USA and Restore Our Future, the super PACs backing President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Mr. Todd said.

“We believe that premium content matters for undecided voters because they don’t seek political news,” he said. “If they were political news seekers, they likely wouldn’t be undecided in October.”

Emphasis added by me. I just have to laugh about it. Low information voters are both annoying and a source of comic relief for those of us who follow politics. Hell, I had to raise an eyebrow at the woman wondering out loud this morning why we needed two lines – one of which was much shorter than the other. She didn’t even know that they were for two different precincts. I informed her, but I’m not sure she knew what a precinct was, she just kind of said “ah” and went quiet. But back to the topic of NRA spending, this is the breakdown compared to the campaigns in their October spending:

During the week of Oct. 15, for example, the NRA’s TV mix for the swing-voter campaign was 78% sports, 12% late-night (centered on the likes of David Letterman and Jay Leno), 7% prime time and just 2% news. Meanwhile, data Mr. Todd pulled for Obama backer Priorities USA for a week in October shows 40% of TV spending going toward morning programming — which suggests a focus on women — and that sports accounted for roughly 1% of gross ratings points purchased. Estimates for Romney backer Restore Our Future show spending more evenly balanced across times of day, but only 14% of GRPs going toward sports, Mr. Todd said.

There’s more detail in the story, so go read the whole thing if this sort of thing interests you.

We’ll probably be talking more about some of the things that NRA has done to really create a GOTV structure independent of parties and individual candidate campaigns this year that both Sebastian & I think has real promise at keeping the Second Amendment in the minds of voters who lean our way.

One thought on “NRA’s Outreach to the Undecideds”

  1. There was no danger of me voting for her, but it is interesting me that in this region, Attorney General candidate Kathleen Kane was the only candidate to run TV ads playing up a strong anti-gun position.

    I had not looked into her positions, just because I had no intentions of voting for her anyway, so I was not aware of how really anti-gun she was; so I was “low information” on that score. But, I’m wondering how many other low-information but pro-gun-leaning voters were turned against her by ads that were supposed to be supporting her. I’m wondering it that can be ascertained in any way by the vote returns.

    (I’ll have to dig out my old vote-pattern correlation analysis software that I wrote some years ago, and stand by.)

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