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The 2021 Voter Funnel Study

Television Remains the Most Important Influencer, As Seen in the 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Race

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The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election was held on November 2, 2021 to elect the next governor of Virginia. Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin won by the narrowest margin in a Virginia gubernatorial election since 1989. He was the first Republican to win a statewide election in Virginia since 2009 and only the fourth to win the governorship in 40 years.

The goal of the 2021 Voter Funnel Study was to determine the influence of media platforms on voters’ decision-making process. An online survey administered by Dynata to 1,000 adults asked registered Virginia voters about their exposure to advertising seen/heard/read on ANY of 20+ media platforms, and what impact it had on them. They did not have to see a TV ad to be included in this study.

The 10-minute survey was fielded right after the polls closed in Virginia, from November 2nd through November 12th, 2021.

Among the results:

  • TV was cited as the most important influence at each stage of voters’ decision process (awareness/interest/get more information/consider voting/vote) in Virginia. In fact, TV’s influence on awareness was more than all other media combined. Of those that cited TV as the “most important”, 7 out of 10 picked broadcast TV over cable.
  • TV ads had a ripple effect on 79% of Virginia respondents, who took some kind of action after seeing/hearing a political ad on television. In addition, of those that do online searches, 83% said TV ads influenced them when performing an online political search.
  • Local broadcast TV news was the most trusted news source, while news on local TV station websites and/or apps was the most trusted digital source. Voters found fake news to be most prevalent on social media and cable news.
  • 56% of Virginia voters selected TV as motivating them to get out and vote. Social media was next at a distant 20%, followed by mail at 17%.
  • 40% of Virginia voters voted prior to Election Day, including 52% of African Americans.

Source: Dynata / TVB 2021 Voter Funnel; Adults 18+ / N = 956 (Media with at least 1 funnel stage at 2%+ shown, 2%, 1% & 0% shown but not labelled) QA4/QA5/QA6/QA7/QA8: Thinking about the ads you saw/heard for candidates, which advertising media was most important in making you aware of/interested in/influenced you to get more information on/consider voting for/vote for the candidate(s)”
Source: Dynata / TVB 2021 Voter Funnel; Adults 18+ / N = 956 QA4: Thinking about the ads you saw/heard for candidates, which advertising media was most important in making you aware of the candidate or ballot issue?
Source: Dynata / TVB 2021 Voter Funnel; Adults 18+ / N = 1,000 (Agree Strongly + Agree Somewhat) Q6: “For each source, please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement: I trust the news that I see/hear on this media source.”
Source: Dynata / TVB 2021 Voter Funnel; Adults 18+ / N = 892 (Television = Nat’l Broadcast, Local Broadcast, Cable and/or Public Television News) Q9: “Sometimes we need a push to actually go out and vote or mail in our ballots. Please pick up to 5 media/methods that you feel most motivated you to get out and vote or mail in your ballot.”
Source: Dynata / TVB 2021 Voter Funnel; Adults 18+ N = 892 Q8: “Did you vote?”

For more information, please contact Hadassa Gerber, Chief Research Officer, TVB