The Great Low Information Voter War

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has a column discussing how the left makes its messages go viral targeting low information voters.

I previously wrote about how BuzzFeed Politics has combined “the culture” and savvy crafting into a highly effective tool for undermining Republicans with subtle and not-so-subtle mockery.  “Look at the goofy cat, look at the goofy celeb, look at the goofy Republican” is more dangerous to us than a 5000-word article in The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Ace adds, “And by presenting this idea in a user-friendly form for dumb people (a CHEEZBURGER cat and an LOL) is going to probably have more sway that a dozen Thomas Sowell columns.”

And of course that’s true, but it’s always been this way. Political arguments aren’t just the high brow deep arguments. They’re also the low brow stuff.

Is the conservative blogsphere incapable of producing mockery or user-friendly memes? It is and does on a regular basis. What it does not have is a way to integrate the political content with a primarily pop culture site like HuffPo or BuzzFeed.

On the right, sites are primarily political. DailyCaller and Blaze have that sort of pop culture, but it’s a sidebar. And if you want to target low information voters, you don’t need more political sites, you need more apolitical sites that also cram in some politics in between all the other stuff.

It’s a myth that we can’t do this. We do it. Ace turns out his own memes on a regular basis. What we don’t have is an apolitical frame for those memes. A site that people who don’t care much about politics would go to.

Professor Jacobson says, “We are losing the fight to the lowest of low information voters, who are pushed toward a liberal agenda by very smart and talented people who understand the power of social media in a way we don’t.”

I think we do understand it. We just don’t have complete parity. Design wise we tend to lag behind, but organizationally we do pretty well on social media. Where we really lag is the ability to integrate all that into a framework that targets apolitical voters. Part of that is the existing media structure which integrates with sites like BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post rather than with anything on the right.

But that’s just part of it. The other part is that conservatives sites tend to focus on our own base. They don’t look beyond it. The left thinks bigger than we do. It monetizes its propaganda and finds more sophisticated ways of passing it around.

We don’t lack the people or the ideas or the social media savvy. We’re not crippled by some inability to talk to low information voters or find 600 ways of making fun of Obama and Warren. What we lack are ways of breaking out beyond the base because we mainly operate political sites that are oriented toward conservatives.

  • stoptyranny1797

    Great article, but there's a typo in the first sentence: "law" information voters.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      thanks

    • megapotamus

      And a 'that' for 'than'.

      • Daniel Greenfield

        That one's a quote.

        • Mary Sue

          (sic) is so underused and underappreciated these days! :D

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The population of voters dumbed down in government schools was a natural for Obama,
    the reduction in thought and attention dropped from one liners to one word novels.
    The proof of educational destruction is evident in our situation, voters without the mental
    capacity to think out what is proposed, only what they pick up emotively and not as
    well as a trained dog. Tests should be instituted for voter eligibility, age is not in any way
    a guide to who and what is and able citizen………………………….William

    • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

      William, to be sure, the deconstruction of the (mis)education system is not for naught. How is it possible, the Dem controlled teacher's union produces methodologies with such "fuzzy thinking"? Is it an accident? Not at all.
      A non-critical thinking population is a compliant one, and this is the way they want it. Sounds strange? One would think so, but that would be if the end goal is an educated populace. Here's the thing. Kiddies eventually grow up, and these same voters are (mostly) part of the Dem's handiwork.
      As such, would an education union tolerate this travesty – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/25/domestic-terr
      By the way, in a nation as imperiled as Israel, one would think a "talking head" "journalist" would be the last one to lead the second biggest party in the Knesset. Not. Pretty boy, Yair Lapid, resonated with voter's on "social justice" issues like the high cost of cottage cheese! Talk about low info voters.
      Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

      • WilliamJamesWard

        In conjunction with Leftist Boards of Education that do not have the benefit of students
        and thier families in mind, the Unions push the Leftist agenda which eventually if not
        derailed shall easily control and effete Nation of mindless and lost souls………..William

  • UCSPanther

    I wonder how many of those "Low-information" voters will regret ever voting Obama? I know there are a lot of people from back then who regretted voting for Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

  • Fred

    It is greatly amusing. :) Republicans only just discovered the fact that advertisers, marketers, insurance companies, politicians all call them "low information voters" about 2 years ago, since then Republicans have been trying to pretend that it's Democrats that the term applies to, presumably thinking that the term is a new one. :) It's very amusing.

    • Fred smells

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_information_vote

      American pollster and political scientist Samuel Popkin coined the term "low-information" in 1991 when he used the phrase "low-information signaling" in his book The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns. Low-information signaling referred to cues or heuristics used by voters, in lieu of substantial information, to determine who to vote for. Examples include voters liking Bill Clinton for eating at McDonald's, and perceiving John Kerry as elitist for saying wind-surfing was his favorite sport.[1]

      Once again, you are wrong. Also, you posted the same comment twice. You did edit your grammatical errors the second time around.

  • Fred

    It;'s amusing. The term "low information voter" for the past 3 decades has refered to Republicans, marketers, advertisers, politicians, lawyers all used the term for 30 years to refer to Republicans. Now that Republicans have heard the term being applied to them, they're trying to pretend it's notthem. :) Highly amusing.

    • Fred id dead.

      American pollster and political scientist Samuel Popkin coined the term "low-information" in 1991 when he used the phrase "low-information signaling" in his book The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns. Low-information signaling referred to cues or heuristics used by voters, in lieu of substantial information, to determine who to vote for. Examples include voters liking Bill Clinton for eating at McDonald's, and perceiving John Kerry as elitist for saying wind-surfing was his favorite sport.[1]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_information_vote

      You are not quite accurate. Or, you are wrong. Read it how you'd like to Fred.

  • Sabot