We're slowly getting a fuller picture of what the die-hard Mitt Romney fan looks like: a lover of online quizzes, photos, and Williams Sonoma, a hater of gambling and nunchucks. Exit polls have consistently shown in each state primary that Romney's voters tend to be wealthier, more educated, and less religious. But The New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters reports that data gleaned from voters' online behavior provides a far more detailed picture of the Romney fan.
After the New Hampshire primary, the Los Angeles Times reported that Romney's base was upper middle class women who shop at Williams Sonoma. The digital targeting efforts of President Obama's election team get way a lot more press -- like when the campaign bought "Obama 2012" banner ads on local newspaper sites the day of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Romney's team focuses less on buying ads on specific sites than on buying audiences, Peters reports. Lots of people are missing Romney's ads because they don't watch live TV anymore. Voters who might be convinced to pick Romney tend to be "18 and older, Republican-leaning and strongly dissatisfied with the current administration." That might not seem very enlightening -- why go after people not old enough to vote, or people happy with Obama? But finding what those people do on the Internet is. Peters reports on what Romney fans like:
They tend to like to take online quizzes on news and entertainment Web sites. They like to share photographs. And they are interested in topics like technology, literature, home repair and child care.
While people who don't like Romney like this stuff: "video and casino games, bowling, martial arts and jazz." To indulge in stereotypes, it sounds like the things Romney fans like are the things that women like, and the things that non-Romney fans like are the things that a certain breed of male nerd like. (Maybe that's why Romney was an early user (for a political campaign) of Pinterest, the photo sharing site loved by the ladies?) That would have some grounding in facts: in most primary votes so far, Romney has had an advantage among Republican women. But among women nationally, he's not doing so well. USA Today's Susan Page reports that a new swing states poll shows Romney struggling with the ladies:
The biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney's support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30 percent. The president leads him 2-1 in this group.
Romney's pollster Neil Newhouse told Page that the gender gap would shrink after the primary was over, and besides, all Republicans face a gender gap, not just Romney. Perhaps Romney's next move will be to set up a food blog, cupcake recipe index, or Sarah Jessica Parker fansite.