Barack Obama's victory due to 'success of ground advocacy campaign'

President Obama's US election victory has been attributed to his successful ground campaign by comms experts.

Barack Obama: US election winner
Barack Obama: US election winner

Barack Obama secured the 270 votes in the electoral college needed to win the race, overcoming a strong challenge from Mitt Romney after one of the most bitter and expensive races for the US presidency.

Blue State Digital EMEA MD Rob Blackie, whose firm supported Obama's digital campaign, suggested Obama’s win was the result of the campaign’s investment in advocacy-based campaigning on the ground.

He said: ‘He’s won the electoral college by a long way. He’ll win by a significant margin. That’s a result of his good work at targeting. They targeted the voters they’re trying to persuade and got supporters to be advocates.’

Blackie added that around 2.2 million people signed up to help Obama’s campaign on election day, while the voting population of the swing states was around 40 million.

‘You’re talking about a very high ratio of helpers to voters,’ he said. ‘I think the ground game counts more than ever. People are tired of traditional media, and so face-to-face contact is more powerful than it would have been 10 or 15 years ago.’

Ketchum MD, corporate and public affairs, Jo-Ann Robertson added: ‘The air and ground campaigns are both very important, but in my view Obama got his vote out better than Romney. We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Obama's stimulus programme has worked and GDP growth has been a lot healthier than in the UK. The President's legacy will definitely be Obamacare; it can now also be economic revival.’

Insight Public Affairs consultant Ed McRandal pointed to Romney’s hard-line immigration messages as a factor that alienated the rising Latino population.

He said: ‘His messages on abortion and Planned Parenthood drove women and young people to vote for Obama.  Romney’s social policies, driven by a need to appeal to the Republican right wing during the primary process, detracted from his central and most powerful message: Obama is failing you on the economy.’

DLA Piper head of media and director, trade and government relations Eben Black also suggested that despite Obama being in office, he managed to retain more of the ‘common touch’ than Romney, who ‘failed to convince the American public that a super-rich Mormon could be seen as an ordinary person’.

APCO senior counsel Lionel Zetter pointed to Hurricane Sandy and the last-minute positive economic announcements as the tipping point for Obama.

He added: ‘What are the lessons for the UK? The electorate need strong reasons to change in tough economic times, and those reasons were not strong enough.’

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