Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brand Obama: New Math & the Rise of the Unwed Mother

"I want to create a new electoral math. I don't want to practice division, I want to practice addition.'' -Obama

On November 4, 2008, America changed. On that day, an inexperienced candidate with a scant resume and views that contrasted with the majority of the population was elected to the most powerful office in the world, the Presidency of the United States of America. Brand Obama is an ongoing series that chronicles the powerful psychological techniques used in this improbable campaign.

Other Brand Obama posts include:
The Spider and The Fly
The Drunkard's Search
Inoculation and the Art of Persuasion
Mesmerizing Voters with Hypnotic Speech Techniques

While new math may have been a dismal failure in public schools, Obama’s electoral new math has succeeded stupendously for him. It led to his victory in Iowa over Hillary and eventually to the White House. He wanted additional voters and he got them. For example, when the time came to caucus in Iowa, over half the attendees were first timers who mainly supported Obama.

As a strategy, it was laughable. Think George McGovern. It was a desperate ploy from a politician without hope of winning. Hillary had a lock on the traditional Iowa caucus-goers so Obama really had no other choice but to expand the pool.

Surprisingly, the answer to how he pulled off this trick goes largely unnoticed. It has less to do with his race and more to do with his broken family. Obama expanded the one pool of voters that had eluded politicians for years, single females. What better vehicle to validate the lifestyles and values of the large and growing pool a single mothers than the son of one who had risen high enough to run for president. Finally, the democrats had found a way to sell their product, government dependency that would get its largest target audience to the polls in droves.

It is this pool of voters that was largely responsible for his electoral victories and it is this pool of voters that will decide whether he gets to serve a second term. Just look at the graph below showing a 41 point spread for Democrats over Republicans with a segment representing a quarter of the voting population:

Here is how Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research , a top tier Political marketing firm describes the impact of the successful campaign to get Single Women out in force voting for Obama:

"Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research congratulates its client, Women’s Voices. Women Vote, on focusing attention on a critical—and until last night—unheralded group of voters. Last night unmarried women supported Barack Obama by a stunning 70 to 29 percent margin according to calculations based on the Edison/Mitofsky National Election Pool published by CNN. This margin exceeds the support Obama generated among both younger voters and Hispanic voters. Unmarried women similarly supported Democratic House candidates by a 64 to 29 percent margin, matching their progressive support in the 2006 elections.

In fact looking back at martial status, unmarried women consistently generated large progressive margins, but never as large as we saw last night. In fact, there emerged a 44-point difference in the behavior of married women and unmarried women. If not for the overwhelming support of unmarried women, John McCain would have won the women’s vote and with it, the White House."

This "Women's Voices. Women Vote" is how they targeted single women in a 2004 campaign that mirrors the Obama strategy:


In America, unmarried women are the largest group of citizens who do not vote. "On their own," unmarried women lead very different lives to other Americans - often fighting to stay above board financially, manage a career, and take care of their families by themselves. Although their numbers are equivalent to a quarter of the total voting population, their concerns on issues like health care, jobs, education, and retirement security have gone largely unaddressed.
In 2004, Women's Voices. Women Vote approached Greenberg Quinlan Rosner with a simple objective - to empower this overlooked segment of the electorate to start changing American politics the old fashioned way - with their votes.

WVWV wanted to increase the number of unmarried women voting in the American electorate by identifying, registering, motivating, and mobilizing them across the country. To do this, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner started with ground breaking research into this largely un-studied and quickly growing audience. The results created one of the biggest success stories of the 2004 election, and neutralized massive voter turnout among conservative voters.
First, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner developed a sophisticated research program to understand this large, diverse, and disengaged audience. Then, using advanced web-testing techniques, we developed messages that resonated with unmarried women and which were used in the telephone scripts and direct mail advertising that would prompt them to register to vote and cast ballots on election day."

Below are some illuminating slides on this topic from the National Council for Research on Women:

Women are fairly liberal compared to men:

Single women are exponentially more liberal:
Women of color are uber liberal (no real surprises here):
Unfortunately for Republicans, this trend will only grow over time. Here are some excellent graphs from CNN that illustrate the problem:

Growth in unwed mothers:

Unwed Mother by Race (Guess who is paying for them,):

Unwed Mothers by Age (the floodgates are springing wide open):

For Obama, an ever expanding set of give aways to single and often unwed mothers is a logical choice. He wants them dependent because he did/does not stand a chance of winning without them. The fact that these give aways only tend to increase the number of unwed numbers, which has been shown to have an enormously detrimental impact on society, is perversely beneficial for him. Health care is the main link in the dependency chain and that is why he is pursuing this at all costs.

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