There’s a new political battleground in 2016: your phone. Next year’s election presents a new opportunity for politicians to harness a slew of technologies — from video to demographic data — that will help them reach voters. The drive toward connecting with potential voters on their smartphones is playing out, in part, because so many people have one this election cycle. About two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone today, compared with just 35% in the spring of 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. For about 10% of Americans, their smartphone is the only form of high-speed Internet they have access to at home.
“Now everybody has some form of data plan and are doing some form of browsing 24 hours a day,” said Scott Goodstein, the founder of Revolution Messaging, a company that was recently hired to work with Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. Goodstein also worked with the Obama campaign in 2008 on its social media strategy.
Digital technology, including text messaging and social media, was a crucial part of President Barack Obama’s electoral success in 2008 and 2012. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s primary opponent in 2008, was less digitally competitive during her first White House bid, but she’s making a bigger push now that she’s back on the campaign trail, hiring a number of former Obama tech operatives to lead her team, including Teddy Goff, who ran the digital strategy team for Obama in 2012.