Hennessy's View

If You Want Fewer Abortions, Stop Talking About How Many There Are

I’m using abortion as an example, but this bit of science applies to all political messaging. What’s wrong with this headline? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. It shouts: “Everybody’s getting an abortion!” Even if connected with messages that say abortion is wrong. In numerous studies, messages intended to discourage a behavior by promoting the number of people engaged in the behavior (called negative social proof) actually caused the behavior to increase. Read more →

Trust Is a Bigger Problem for GOP Than Marketing

The GOP’s self-examination on the 2012 election debacle rightly identifies marketing and messaging and lack of a ground game as contributors to that mess. But the GOP’s self-exam missed a potentially fatal problem for the party: the American people simply do not trust Republicans on the budget. Read this paragraph from The Hill carefully. Read all of it. It should tell you everything you need to know. More voters trust the Democratic Party than the Republican Party on budgetary issues, according to the results of a new poll for The Hill — even though a strong majority actually prefer Republican fiscal policies [emphases added]. Read more →

Don’t Miss The Brain Study That Tells You How to Influence Democrats

One of the most powerful tools of influence is fear. Decades of research shows that fear of loss is about three times as motivating as hope for gain. (This changes under certain situations, like conditions of certain loss, but that’s for another time.) So political message writers often use negative messages to influence voters to take a chance on a cause or a candidate. This tactic works well with Republican voters, and less well with Democrats. Read more →

This Is The Infographic That The Whole Republican Party Is Freaking Out About

The 3 million McCain voters who didn’t vote for Romney? They’re dead. [Click image to view full size. Please forward, download, and print. This is important.] To survive, the GOP needs to stop being afraid of Millennials and tell them truth: they can move out of mom and dad’s house, they can drop out of school, they can quit their dead-end job with the idiot supervisor. But they can’t get away from government and debt. Read more →