With less than two weeks until Election Day, there's been a barrage of polls attempting to capture the sentiment of the American voter. While Clinton has had a decisive lead in many, and Donald Trump has called them "phony," the truth is that on their own, each individual poll doesn't really tell us much. Each varies in its data, and every day seems to tell a new story.
While a thorough postmortem on the 2016 election will have to wait, it's safe to say little has gone as predicted this election season. It's been a fascinating election cycle and there are already several takeaways that could affect the future of American politics, particularly as it relates to how campaigns engage and persuade voters beyond 2016.
Until recently, the scripts would be written, the footage shot and the media buys made on historic data. And that was it. The same TV and radio spots would just play until Election Day, with little variation to reflect the ever-changing narrative on the campaign trail. Today's battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump reminds me of the all-out attacks in the 1988 race between George Bush and Michael Dukakis.
Let's take a break from the raucous debate playing out on Facebook feeds across the country about this presidential election. Rather than discuss the merits of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump's personalities or policy, let's talk instead about something a little less fraught with emotion. Design. They're both pretty bad.
Politicians have a long history of infringing copyright in their quest for music that captures the essence of their campaigns. Many candidates use songs without seeking authorization, presumably on the premise that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. This was recently personified by Donald Trump using Queen's "We Are the Champions" before his wife took the stage at the RNC.
The breakout success of Pokemon GO has been lauded in comparison to top social-networking apps (surpassing Tinder, chasing Twitter) and historical data (exceeding Candy Crush's rumored peak audience of 20 million). The game's real-world implications can have the power to influence who wakes up in the White House in January.
While publishers like 'Buzzfeed' have already refused a reported $1.3 million in campaign ad money from the RNC's presumptive candidate, Donald Trump has been busy blacklisting and revoking press credentials from coast to coast, including Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-speaking news organization, and legacy publisher 'The Washington Post,' among numerous others.
For months, we've endured headlines and comments questioning the relevance of TV political advertising as presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has accumulated an estimated free (or "earned") media tally of north of $3.8 billion by appearing ubiquitously - often with a phone call - on TV news programs. The candidate himself has been a leading skeptic, asking supporters at a rally, "Do ads work anymore?"
Skeptics suggest Trump's enormous use of earned (free) media has obviated political ads, while others suggest the presumptive GOP nominee's widespread TV exposure spurred Trump primary competitors and now spurs the Clinton campaign, and supporting PACs - and even down-ticket candidates and issues advertisers - to spend more to break through the Trump clutter.
This 2016 campaign season reminds us that modern politics is increasingly data-driven. Like any business, political campaigns seek to use data to develop new insights and gain advantages. Data-driven best practices flow back and forth between political campaigns and marketing groups. Innovations and experts honed in one domain tend to migrate to the other.