Will text messaging be the killer app of the 2016 election cycle or a nuisance that turns off voters? While people can easily tune out email, Twitter messages, Snapchats, Facebook and Instagram posts, a text cuts through the clutter. And that’s why there is renewed interest in political texting.
According to a recent New York Times story titled Texting Comes of Age as a Political Messenger there is good reason to think we may get texts from political candidates.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is using house parties to build support for his presidential campaign. In one night he collected 50,000 new cell phone numbers from people who attended house parties and texted their support.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is building his supporter database by asking voters to take out their cell phones and text him when they support his positions during speeches.
Hillary Clinton is using text to attack potential opponents. A recent text read, “What does Jeb Bush say about Latinos when he thinks no one is listening? The same thing as Donald Trump. Reply HEAR to listen to Jeb, in his own words.”
However, there is also evidence to suggest voters are reluctant to share cell phone numbers with political campaigns.
In 2009, Bob McDonnell a candidate for governor of Virginia was snubbed when voters refused to give up their cell phone numbers even when they were offered free tickets to Redskins football games.
Also, since texts usually only come from friends, family and people you know well, voters may also see texts from political campaigns as too intrusive and be turned off by the candidate.