Smartphone owners back Obama by wide margin over Romney

Harris survey shows margin of 18 points in favor of the president

Smartphone owners plan to vote for President Barack Obama by a wide margin over those favoring GOP rival Mitt Romney for president, according to a recent Harris Interactive survey of 776 smartphone owners.

If the election were held today, 49% of the smartphone owners said they'd vote for Obama, while 31% said they would vote for Romney. All of the smartphone owners use either an Apple iPhone or Android smartphone.

The findings are at odds with a spate of recent traditional polls showing the two men neck and neck nationwide. Velti, a mobile marketing and advertising technology company, commissioned the Harris survey of adults 18 and older. It was conducted online June 27-29.

Velti said it has no connection to either campaign or their marketing efforts, but was interested in gauging the level of mobile interest in the campaigns. "We are just beginning to see a more strategic use of the [mobile] platform," said Krishna Subramanian, chief marketing officer for Velti.

Both Obama and Romney have extensive Web sites devoted to their campaigns, and both offer a variety of ways to follow campaign news and updates, as well as to make online contributions. The Web sites also offer links to social networks such as Facebook and Google + as well as Twitter and provide ways to get text updates.

The main campaign websites are also accessible via browsers in mobile devices, but the campaigns seem to have limited their use of mobile apps. Romney has an app called With Mitt that allows users to customize photos to send to other Romney supporters. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has created an Obama 2012 app with news and other updates.

In January, some campaign organizers said candidates would make mobile a high priority in the campaign, especially with the explosion of smartphone and tablet use since the 2008 presidential campaign. But those mobile efforts, so far, seem to be modest, though there are a variety of election-related mobile apps voters can use to stay informed.

Romney recently kicked off an iAd campaign, using the Apple ad network to run ads inside of applications such as The Weather Channel, according to a report in Mobile Marketer. When a Romney ad appears and a user clicks on it, the user is taken to a mobile landing page where a video plays and the user is encouraged to download the With Mitt app.

The Harris survey also correlated education and income levels with smartphone ownership and presidential preference. Among smartphone owners with a college degree or higher, 56% plan to vote for Obama while 35% will vote for Romney. Smartphone owners with a household income of $75,000 or more a year favored Obama over Romney 49% to 39%.

One group among whom Romney did well is with retired smartphone owners. That group backed the challenger, 57% to 34%.

Harris also found that 54% of 18-to-34-year-old males with smartphones backed Obama, compared to just 32% of males aged 35 to 44 who support him. Female smartphone owners tip even more in favor of Obama. Fully 60% of females between 18 and 34 back Obama, compared to 39% among those 45 or older.

And 59% of single and never-married respondents who own smartphones favor the president. That compared to 43% of those who are married who support him.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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