Did social media and cell phones influence this election?

In the fall of 2009, Royal Oak voters were asked to approve a two-year moratorium on new liquor licenses in the city. The campaign against the moratorium used social media vigorously.  Many of the opponents were established Facebook users. We posted a steady stream of status updates on the subject, sharing links when local media editorials opposed the moratorium.

We ran a Facebook ad that said, “Keep Royal Oak Vibrant.  Who’s trying to keep new businesses out of Royal Oak? Find out why you should vote NO Nov. 3 on the liquor license moratorium.”  The campaign paid for clicks only, and ultimately spent less than $15 for 32 clicks.  But the ad was viewed more than 38,000 times – and that was really all we needed.

The moratorium failed, with 61 percent of the voters opposing it.  Three city commission candidates who opposed the moratorium were elected, while the fourth – the lone moratorium supporter – was defeated.  I believe that, in this off-year election, the liquor license issue drove younger voters to the polls

Before the election, a telephone poll by the city commissioner behind the ballot initiative concluded that voters overwhelmingly supported the moratorium.  So why was the telephone poll wrong?

According to this study, nearly half of adults aged 25-29 years and more than a third of those aged 18-24 lived in households with only wireless telephones.  I think the poll missed those young voters, and they were more likely to opposed the moratorium. 4/28/10

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