Money and politics. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear
In the 2011 federal general election, 61.1 percent of the 23,971,740 eligible voters of Canada voted.
A majority government was formed by 39.62 percent of this 61.1 percent.
Here is a graph of the historical trajectory of voter engagement.
39.62 percent of 61.1 percent is 23.79 percent. Under ¼ of eligible voters in Canada elected a majority government in 2011.
As voter engagement declines, mobilizing voter engagement becomes an increasingly valuable commodity.
1,323,927 votes separated the majority party and the official opposition—or 9% of the actual vote and 5.5% of the eligible vote.
In markets where small margins determine big outcomes, targeted campaigns are required. Targeted marketing campaigns require enormous market research.
Market research is expensive.
When you realize that everything depends upon mobilizing the 5.5% to capture an elusive 9%, the value proposition becomes clear. The rules governing money and campaigning noticeably change.
What is the value of a vote? This is the $125-million dollar question, and it has an answer.
The value of a vote depends upon the likelihood of someone voting for you.
Those who will never vote for you, no matter what, have low value—because they cannot be bought.
Those who will always vote for you, no matter what, have low value—because they don’t need to be bought. Money spent on either of these categories is wasted.
The most valuable voters are undecided. They are disengaged, low information voters. They are swing voters. They are waiting to be persuaded. They can be bought. In all likelihood, they must be.
They are the elusive 9% who determine everything. They are all that matter.
Money, marketing, and modern politics.