PR Leads Way in 2010 Elections

by Cheryl Carr on October 4, 2010

The 1960 presidential election was the first to be largely impacted by television.

The 2008 presidential election was the coming out party for social media.

The 2010 elections are being waged using the power of public relations.

Public relations?

Candidates for state and congressional offices are finding it easer, with the plethora of news outlets and their online components, and cheaper (who pays for news time?) to communicate their positions and showcase their personas to the wider electorate audience through news stories.

You see it from Delaware to Alaska and from Florida to New York where Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo is facing GOP and Tea Party candidate Carl Paladino.

Each candidate is using a pro-active “earned” media strategy to garner prime news coverage daily to stay “top of mind” with potential voters and to define both themselves and their opponent.  Even when it becomes one of the dirtiest races in America.

That’s why in late September you see Cuomo visiting the editorial offices of Paladino’s hometown Buffalo News and then sitting down in the Syracuse airport for his first in-depth interview on YNN’s Capital Tonight. At the same time, both The New York Times and New York Post readers find out more about the underdog Paladino and his family in several published profiles and candidate Q&As.

By following this strategy, candidates realize that the positive use of public relations can ultimately increase credibility, awareness and understanding of a candidate, thus leading to possible acceptance of his position and a higher likelihood that they may receive a yes vote on Election Day.

The nastier ads will come later, but a preference for a particular candidate has already been formed among many potential voters in 2010 through the use – or misuse – of public relations.