Incumbent Governors See Benefits of Early Radio Investment Across Formats


As we have seen in past election years, political candidates tend to turn to radio closer to Election Day than Labor Day. This cycle, Katz has been following a pair of incumbent governors from both sides of the aisle that are going against this trend and embracing the power of radio's diverse formats early in the election cycle - and earlier than their opponents. In a new study, Katz has gathered evidence that the strategy of using radio early, often, and on a wide variety of formats is helping political candidates build support well ahead of November 8th.


While Greg Abbott (R) and JB Pritzker (D) are favored to retain their seats as governors, they are taking nothing for granted and have already launched significant radio campaigns as part of their marketing strategies. A Katz analysis of Media Monitors found that both governors began airing spots in their respective states before Labor Day, 12 weeks ahead of the November 8th general election.

Both incumbent governors are utilizing a wide variety of formats to get their message out to voters across the radio dial and across their state. Looking at the markets and stations tracked by Media Monitors, it is clear that JB Pritzker has set his sights beyond News/Talk, and is targeting voters on music stations: Urban, Urban AC, Soft AC, Hot AC, Classic Rock, Classic Hits, and AOR. Greg Abbott is embracing talk formats (News, News/Talk, Talk, Sports), as well as music, including Spanish Language, Country, Classic Rock, Classic Hits, Adult Hits, and AC in his radio plan.


To understand how Abbot's and Pritzker's current radio campaigns are influencing voters, Katz conducted online surveys with likely voters in both Texas and Illinois. Results show that their current radio activity is successfully increasing voter intent for both governors. Texans who heard Greg Abbott’s radio campaign were +5% more likely to vote for him compared to those who have not heard it. And in Illinois, voters experienced a +4% lift in intention to vote for JB Pritzker among those who heard his radio campaign vs. those who did not.

Incumbent candidates are already standing on four years of reputation, built from all of their actions during their time in office. Their political advertising serves as a reminder and a rallying cry to bases and undecideds, to help make incremental gains in voter impression. Every percentage point counts for political campaigns, and radio is proven to positively impact voter intention. Greg Abbott and JB Pritzker show that incumbent candidates from both sides of the aisle stand to benefit from using AM/FM radio to engage with voters. They both invested early in key markets and embraced a variety of formats, which is proving to lay crucial groundwork ahead of the general election.



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