With the 2012 election less than 100 days away, campaigns have kicked into high gear and the move into mobile poses to be a huge asset for both campaigns this fall. Candidates are using mobile applications to drum up excitement, as well as to help mobilize their campaign supporters in a more effective way. Just this past week, both the Obama and Romney campaigns released their own Smartphone apps.
Romney’s app, “Mitt’s VP”, comes on the last day of the presumptive GOP nominee’s six-day foreign trip. Romney is expected to make a decision on his running mate sometime after his return to the United States. The app, designed to spark excitement before the National Convention, allows users to sign-up to get campaign news and share their thoughts on this via various social media platforms. It also provides a direct link to the Romney campaign donation page.
On the other hand, the Obama campaign released an app, “Obama for America”, more focused on mobilizing the campaign and the grassroots organization. Users can easily find local volunteer events; get a list of voters to talk to in their neighborhood, and access all the information they need to spread the word of the campaign. The app is designed to keep supporters engaged with real-time updates on the race, and blog posts from the campaign. It’s clear that both candidates are looking for increased ways to reach out to voters, perhaps especially those in the younger demographic.
The use of mobile applications as campaign tools has trickled down to more local campaigns as well. Larry Gonzales, candidate for Texas State Representative in the 52nd District, incorporated mobile in his campaign strategy with a mobile application for iPhones and iPads. The Gonzales campaign’s mobile application allowed users to track his appearances, donate and volunteer, follow his Twitter feed, email any questions on policy that they had, and get updates on local events. The application even allows his users a sneak peek into the life of the Gonzales’ family with their own personal photo album.
If you remember, back in 2010 Meg Whitman invested heavily in mobile as well during her campaign for the Governor of California. Her app featured a multitude of things including campaign updates, videos, photos, volunteer sign-ups and exclusive polls. The Obama campaign too embraced social media enthusiastically during the 2008 Presidential campaign, and they continue to embrace advances in technology like mobile that will help them better engage with supporters (especially the younger demographics). It seems like this trend will only continue to become more popular in the political world as we move ahead.
What is the one best thing you have noticed about any political app that you have used? Or if you haven’t yet used a political app, tell us why not. And if you’ve used any of the Presidential candidates’ apps, please share with us how you feel about them.