In traditional Maine politics, this sort of ramping up usually comes toward the end of summer, just ahead of a Labor Day surge that leads to an October sprint for the finish.
The early nature of this ramp up is likely tied to the results generated by two recent statewide polls, both of which show Democrat Mike Michaud and Republican Paul LePage in a statistical dead heat. Both polls also show Independent candidate Eliot Cutler in a distant third place.
Video killed the radio star
Apparently, despite the dismal poll numbers, there is still some concern that Cutler could repeat the 2010 election results, by once again drawing from Democratic voters and giving LePage a second term with a plurality victory.
Cutler, with nothing much to lose, recently unleashed a campaign video to explain why he is NOT splitting the vote.
The video was captured during one of his campaign events in response to a question from a very young voter.
Releasing the video was a very smart move, and it was a very dumb move.
It’s a smart move because Cutler uses video to portray confidence, leadership.
It’s a dumb move because it makes his campaign appear on the defensive some six months before the election.
Regardless of how you feel about Cutler, his campaign or the video, one thing is clear: video is an effective communication tool, especially when it comes to social media. Blogs are read, but videos go viral.
A study conducted in the United Kingdom last year showed what most of us know intuitively, yet what so many of us fail to recognize: A picture is worth a thousand words, but a short video is worth a thousand pictures.
The study showed that consumers are 27.4 times more likely to click-through online video ads than standard banners and almost 12 times more than rich media ads.
But here in Maine politics, the gubernatorial campaigns have yet to do very much in the way of integrating videos in their social media efforts.
As of this writing, the above video from Cutler (posted two days ago) has received 115 views. That does not sound good, right? Well, wait til you hear from the competition.
Mike Michaud’s campaign last released a video four weeks ago and it has received 63 views.
Paul LePage’s campaign released its last video roughly six months ago, but it generated 300 views.
Apparently, all three campaigns could use some work on producing pithy, yet compelling videos.
Another look at the numbers
On a final note, all three campaigns experienced a rather shallow 2 percent increase on their respective Facebook pages, but Michaud’s team scored an 11 percent increase in Twitter followers( 1,7111) during the past month, compared to 3 percent for LePage (1,754) and four percent for Cutler (1.377).
A little help from my friends
And just for the fun of it, I decided to see where my Facebook friends land when it comes to liking the campaigns.
I have 801 Facebook friends (though several do not live in Maine). Of those, 93 of my friends “like” Mike Michaud; 97 “like” Paul LePage; and 154 “like” Eliot Cutler.