Tide change - political awareness is on the rise and local elections could feel the impact first:
Bottom Line: Later this year I'll enter my 20th year in this industry and this is the 5th Presidential election cycle I've covered. While a lot's changed since 2000, there's been a trend in every one of them until now. Increased tune in during the Presidential election cycle followed by a bit of a lull in engagement in the following year. Generally we've seen about a 20% increase in tune in during the election year followed by a similar drop in engagement the following year. Well, that's not happening this year.
Not only have we been holding our audience, we're actually posting meaningful year over year gains and it's not just WJNO or talk radio. It's across the board. USA Today commissioned research on political engagement and found that there's actually a 5%-12% increase in engagement since the Presidential election. That's unheard of. It's explainable based on the Trump factor (for both supporters and detractors) but it's also potentially a huge positive in terms of awareness for local elections.
According to a director at VoteSpotter (a leading political app) "There has been a huge increase in holding elected officials accountable,"
That's music to my ears. There also was a prediction that local elections would be the first to be impacted by the increased engagement. That's also encouraging with municipal elections throughout the Palm Beaches occurring in March. The Presidential election will often draw about 60% of eligible voters but municipal only elections often average only about 18%. Given that local elections have a greater impact on your day to day life, it's critical that we do inform ourselves about our local politicians and do hold them accountable. You need look no further than the disingenuous "penny tax" marketing scam perpetuated last fall that's costing you 16.7% more in sales tax when you make purchases in Palm Beach County – to see that there's a huge need for accountability locally.