Meg Whitman breaks new virtual ground with Facebook ‘polling’ ads
In 2010 a candidate would be ill-advised to ignore the Internet, especially if he or she wants to reach younger voters who aren’t paying attention to more traditional campaigns — or, even worse, are tuning out politics entirely.
And Republican Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who is running for California governor against Democrat Jerry Brown, certainly isn’t the first candidate to advertise on Facebook in hopes of tapping into its nearly 500 million users.
But Whitman’s campaign says she has become the first political candidate to use “polling ads” on Facebook — or spots that engage users, asking them to decide which issues they want to hear the candidate address.
Campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei says the first polling ad went live last night, popping up on the Facebook pages of Californians over 18 and asking them to choose one of three issues facing California: creating jobs, cutting state spending or fixing education.
When the votes are tallied in about a week, she said, Whitman will address it in a videotaped speech to the Facebook audience.
“The Facebook ads play an important role in our strategy to build community support and engage younger voters in the campaign,” Pompei said. “We’re using these innovative campaign tools to build the groundswell of support for Meg’s agenda, and this is just the latest example.”
Whitman, a billionaire who is largely funding her own campaign and outspending Brown, has already made an aggressive early push for Latino voters, making surprising inroads with a traditionally Democratic constituency. Now it appears she’s going after another: young voters.
“Meg is targeting many different constituencies in California and younger voters are part of that,” Pompei said. “The number one issue facing young voters, like a lot of Californians, is jobs, and Meg’s priority is getting them back to work.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson (Meg Whitman speaks to supporters in June after winning the Republican primary)