Politicians, Podcasts and Polls
What impact will podcasts have on elections in both the US and UK?
If prime minister Rishi Sunank opts to push things as far as possible, it is conceivable that both the UK and the US will be holding national elections at almost exactly the same time. (There must be a UK General Election by January 2025, but the likelihood of anyone wanting to campaign or vote anywhere near Christmas is zero, so the latest point Sunak will go for is probably November 2024. The US election will be held on November 5.)
Even if the more likely option of a Summer vote comes to pass, both Brits and Americans will head to the polls next year. This will make for fascinating comparisons between both the media coverage and campaign media strategies on either side of the Atlantic.
Indeed, in America, campaigning is already ramping up as Republications scrap to be their party’s nominee. In the latest Semafor Media newsletter, Max Tani highlighted the media fragmentation taking place and the impact this is having on campaigning. A lot of that seems to be happening via podcasts. Florida governor Ron De Santis pitched up on former Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s show and Chris Christie went on the leftie “Pod Save America”. (Clips of Chrstie’s appearance are well worth watching for all sorts of reasons - this one is a personal favourite.) Apparently, Donald Trump has done an Ed Miliband and spoken to Russell Brand, while President Biden is looking to appear on a wellness pod. As Tani points out, this is interesting because even the biggest podcasts only reach a fraction of the electorate. It also makes it harder to track who is saying what, and where.
Could a similar thing happen here in the UK? There are certainly some big shows that might be of interest to senior politicians. One of the more obvious destinations for our wannabe national leaders is “The News Agents” from Global and Persephonica. Dino Sofos, CEO of Persephonica, told The Addition that the show “is already setting the agenda with its political coverage and news-making interviews.” He added:
Looking ahead to Persephonica's new podcast from George Osborne and Ed Balls, you can absolutely expect their interventions to play a role. Thinking about how plugged in they both are in their respective parties.
So far, so straightforward. But what about non-political podcasts? Might they be the new Mumsnet?
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