Four years ago today, President Barack Obama was gearing up to announce his reelection campaign, Mitt Romney was leading Newt Gingrich in the polls, and roughly one out of every three American adults owned a smartphone. You read that right: In the spring of 2011, just 35 percent of American adults owned a smartphone, according to Pew Research. The Internet and social media may have been changing politics in myriad ways, but news consumption was mostly a sedentary experience. Today, as Hillary Clinton prepares for the formal launch of her campaign, and as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are neck and neck in the polls, roughly two out of every three American adults, or 64 percent, own a smartphone, according to a new report from Pew. The new mobile reality is changing the state of news and advertising, and it will also change the dynamic of American politics — especially during the 2016 campaign season, journalists and political operatives said.
“Mobile is going to be the big thing in 2016,” Chris Lehane, the Democratic strategist and Clinton White House alum, told the On Media blog. “It is what any sophisticated campaign will be trying to figure out and then maximize in 2016 — and all the campaigns from both parties will be in a race to see who can figure out the tools to best lever the power of mobile.”?
On the consumption side, the rise in mobile will “change politics the same way it is changing American life broadly,” said Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed. “People will organize and persuade on mobile devices and apps, the same way they live on them more broadly.”