How to measure American attitudes in an election year

American votes line up a their polling place to cast ballots

In 2024, American voters will head to the polls to elect a President, 34 Senators, and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives – not to mention the many state and local officials down the ballot. Politicians at all levels of government are vying for ad space alongside consumer brands who may also want to activate different voting groups through their ad campaigns. Whatever the use case, a clear picture of Americans’ activity around politics and voting can be an asset to advertisers, agencies, networks, or journalists.

Knowing that Americans’ political attributes will be top of mind in the coming months, here is what’s available to MRI-Simmons USA subscribers and how each can apply to their election year goals:

Political affiliation: What party do you belong to?

If trying to reach card-carrying members of a particular party, this is the measure to use. Respondents tell us if they are Democrat, Republican, Other, or Independent/No Party Affiliation. Capturing energy within a party (or those without a party) can be instrumental in tailoring messaging based on this basic level of participation in party politics.


Political outlook: What are your ideological leanings

Though party lines generally set the stage when looking at voters, understanding where Americans sit on the ideological spectrum separate from their party identity (or lack thereof) can offer another perspective of the electorate. Our survey distinguishes between conservative and liberal outlooks, capturing the diverse range of political beliefs among Americans along a 5-point scale:

  • Very conservative
  • Somewhat conservative
  • Middle of the road
  • Somewhat liberal
  • Very liberal

Registered to vote: Can you actually cast a ballot?

New for 2024, this measure in MRI-Simmons USA now reveals to our clients if respondents are registered to vote. This data is key for reminding registered voters to turn out or encouraging unregistered Americans to get involved. Though not always a driver of sales, such messaging helps advertisers position themselves as agents of positive change in their communities.


Voting frequency: What elections do you vote in?

Party membership and voter registration do not necessarily make one a voter, nor is a national voter necessarily a statewide or local voter. These are valuable differentiators when determining who is a likely voter in any race. Respondents tell us if they vote in National, Statewide, and Local elections.


How consumer researchers can use political measures effectively

These insights are useful in isolation, but their power is multiplied when they are crossed with other measures using consumer profiling tools like Catalyst. The breadth of MRI-Simmons USA enables users to answer questions that will help inform media planning strategies, including

…or any other insight that our 60,000 consumer data points can illuminate to help marketers reach your best targets.

What to remember about consumer attitudes in an election year

During any election season - but especially during a Presidential election cycle- political attitudes are top of mind for both office seekers and marketers alike. Segmenting and activating audiences based on attributes like party affiliation, political outlook, voter registration status, and voting frequency can be an effective tactic for ad campaigns.

Ready to use political insights for your audience research and target activation? Contact us today!

Matt Petterson
Matt Petterson
Matt is the Digital Marketing Manager at MRI-Simmons, whose 10+ year career spans both media production and consumer research. He brings data-driven insights to life in any digital medium and helps thought leaders share actionable expertise across multiple platforms.
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