The next Presidential election is still about fifteen months away, and many of us feel like it’s been going on since the last one ended. The overall impression is like seeing Christmas goods on display in stores before Labor Day.
But here we are, with over twenty declared candidates in the Democratic race, most of them plodding doggedly around key primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and also filling email inboxes with their campaign messaging. It’s time to look at some of their programs.
The table below shows recent thirty-day email activity and performance data for eight of the most visible (and viable) Democratic campaigns, and — because he never stopped emailing once he got elected — that of Mr. Trump. The Democratic candidates are listed in order of their current polling numbers, which may have changed somewhat by the time you read this piece.
For the most part, the largest email audiences are owned by the strongest polling candidates. Buttigieg’s is a surprising exception, considering the relatively high profile of his candidacy. Harris and Biden own the largest audiences; Klobuchar and Booker the smallest, along with Buttigieg.
Harris deployed by far the largest number of campaigns, and sent the largest number of emails. Klobuchar and Buttigieg are on the low end of the range for both metrics. Inbox performance is — typically for political email — low for these candidates: none of them is seeing better than 82% deliverability, and Harris’ is only 68%. That translates, respectively, into risky spam rates of 18% and 32%. Politicians are not bound by the strictures of CAN-SPAM regulations, and most tend to have sloppy list acquisition and send practices.
Read rates, however, are generally strong: Biden’s, Buttigieg’s, and Klobuchar’s all exceed 30%. Warren’s are the only campaigns in this group driving read rates of less than 20%. By comparison, Trump owns one of the largest email audiences, and deployed almost as many campaigns and emails as Biden. His 93% inbox performance is strong, as are his 25% read rates. Trump also drove some of the strongest read rates in the 2016 campaign, but was also its biggest spammer. His campaign seems to have cleaned up its email act for 2020, and whoever ends up running against Trump will need to take note of that.