AOL rocks the GOP vote

November 14, 2011

No doubt this is a politically divided nation; just go to a dinner party and see what happens when some half-in-the-bag neighbor brings up health care or gay marriage or taxes — or, apparently, absurdly, email providers.  If you can believe it, a new poll out today shows a major difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to picking their favorite email service.

It seems that Republican voters favor AOL over every other email provider, according to a survey of 1,184 registered voters by Poll Position. In fact, about 20 percent of them picked AOL as their preferred email provider, ahead of both Google (18.9 percent) and Yahoo (15.6 percent). Democrats took a completely opposite view, picking Google as their favorite (27.3 percent), followed by Yahoo (15.6 percent). And what about AOL? It didn’t fare well, with only 5 percent of Democrats picking it as the best service.

Why such a significant difference? Tough to know. I ran it past a number of people, and the best response I got, from a good friend and keen political observer, was this: “I would guess if you held age, location, and income steady, the differences would be negligible.”

I’ll buy that.

But the other surprise of the poll, which had a margin of error of plus/minus 3 percent, was how well AOL fared with the younger set. Nearly a third — yes, a third — of the respondents 18-29 years-old picked AOL as the top service. Most of this demographic, by the way, weren’t even walking the planet when AOL was formed as Control Video Corporation in 1983. Perhaps this is exactly the reason that AOL is so popular with the younger set.  Having an AOL account seems quirky, offbeat, even hip in a retro way. Neoclassic, I think it’s called.

Politico’s Ben Smith recently touched on AOL’s coolness in one of his posts.

“Now that my mother has switched to Gmail, virtually the only people I email at AOL accounts are big shots — people who were already so important by the time the various new fads (and technical advantages) arrived that they couldn’t be bothered to switch, and had nothing to prove to anyone.”

Unfortunately for AOL, it still badly trailed Yahoo and Google when it came to overall poll results, with just 12 percent of all respondents picked it as their favorite service. And, as we all know, the company faces a dump truck full of challenges. Bigger picture, being a popular email provider with some retro, 20-something conservatives probably isn’t going to do the trick.



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The Republican voters might favor AOL as an e-mail service – but I doubt that AOL is the preferred news source for the GOP. Any hopes of being a neutral media outlet ended when AOL agreed to purchase the Huffington Post.

Posted by jatisch2 | Report as abusive