What is of particular interest to political strategists in the run up to a general election as canvassing reaches its climax, is not that most adults in Britain talk about politics and public affairs (59% of those aged 15+ do so), but who are the people wielding real and profound influence through their political opinions.
After all, when deciding how to vote, are you going to listen to evasive clichés from a politician, delivered through a screen, poster or radio, or are you going to listen to that friend of yours who you trust, who seems particularly clued up on political matters and makes a good case? This will be particularly true for those people who don’t make up their mind about who to vote for until just before the election, when they suddenly realise that they must make a decision.
Findings from Kantar Media’s TGI survey of consumer behaviour shine a revealing spotlight on those who consider themselves to be particularly influential in their political views.
Think the older generation are the ones swaying the vote? Think again.
Just under two million adults, 4% of the population, believe it very likely that they can convince others with their political and public affairs views. Although it is the young who are often criticised for their voter apathy, it is these very age groups who are particularly likely to believe in the power of their political influence.
TGI data reveals that 15-24 year olds are over 50% more likely than the average adult to believe it very likely they can convince others with their views on politics and public affairs. Although this may at first glance look to be a contradiction of the maxim that young people are less engaged with politics, this could well be because young people are less engaged with politics. Their very lack of political conviction may mean their peers believe they can sway their views.
Another prominent feature of these influencers is their tendency to be well off and upmarket. They are 92% more likely to have a family income of £75,000+ than the average adult and are 37% more likely to be in the top (AB) social grades.
The most likely places you will find political influencers in Britain are Scotland (32% more likely), Greater London (25% more likely) and the West Midlands (22% more likely).
Jobs, housing, marriage – political influencers are likely to be embarking on some of the most profound of life events
With a tendency towards the younger end of the age spectrum, the big life events looming on the horizon in the next 12 months for these political influencers are especially likely to be those that the young often face. They are almost three times more likely than the average adult to be about to graduate from university and over twice as likely to expect to get married. They are also over twice as likely to be anticipating the purchase of their first home and just under twice as likely to be looking to start their first job.
As befits the confidence they have in political influence, this group are also particularly likely to be ambitious and outgoing in their attitudes – characteristics political parties should seek to appeal to if they are to properly engage this audience. TGI survey data reveals they are over twice as likely as the average adult to wish to stand out in a crowd, 86% more likely to agree they like to have control over people and resources and 84% more likely to say they want to get to the very top in their career.
A range of media are particularly likely to be consumed by political influencers – striking the right balance will be key
Their attitudes also reveal some of the most effective ways to reach them through media. Political influencers are 75% more likely to say they read the financial pages of their newspaper, 73% more likely to tend to buy products from companies who sponsor sports events and teams and 58% more likely to like interacting with advertising on touch screens in the likes of shopping centres, cinemas and airports.
In fact they are likely to be heavy consumers of a range of media. For example, they are 89% more likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of consumers of mobile internet, 44% more likely to be in the top fifth for cinema and 40% more likely to rank likewise for outdoor media.
Given their predilection towards mobile internet, if we drill down further we can examine their actual, metered mobile internet use through TGI Clickstream survey data. This reveals that they are 62% more likely than the average online adult who has a smartphone or tablet to have been on the Vouchercloud app ‘in the last 4 weeks’, 59% more likely to have used the Shazam app and 51% more likely to have used the Halifax mobile banking app.
We have seen how the young in particular feel they have the power to sway their friends and family with their views and to take full advantage of this – political parties will need to ensure they engage with younger voters on their own terms. As research from Kantar Millward Brown attests, this includes such practices as not just using mobile to reach them but taking the time to tailor content and format on mobile to gain as much impact as possible. This also means shorter formats – Generation Z will not sit through a turgid 5-minute party political broadcast. Instead they need to be hit with, short snappy and engaging content that makes use of humour and interaction for maximum effect.
Source : Kantar Media