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   June, 2011

Netroots Nation Straw Poll 2011

Revolution Messaging partnered with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Democracy Corps at Netroots Nation 2011 to conduct a straw poll of attendees. GQRR came out with the results in a press release today. Also be sure to check out the LA Times article on Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin coming out on top for who liberals want most as the GOP presidential nominee.

Netroots Nation Straw Poll Results-2011

June 21, 2011. Washington, DC. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Researchand Democracy Corps, in close partnership with Revolution Messaging, conducted a straw poll of progressive activists, journalists, and bloggers at the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is the fourth year the straw poll has been conducted at the conference, the second time participants have been able to take the poll via text message, and by far the largest straw poll conducted yet at the conference, with over 500 people participating.

Netroots participants show broad support for President Obama, with 80 percent approving of his performance as president (27 percent strongly approve, 53 percent somewhat approve) and a strong net positive favorability (with 85 percent giving him a warm personal rating). When asked who they most want to see as the President’s challenger, they showed a strong preference for Sarah Palin to be Barack Obama’s opponent, followed closely by Representative Michele Bachmann. By a wide margin, these respondents also identified job growth as the top issue for President Obama. Stan Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, reacted to the results: “Despite some publicized criticism from the left, progressives remain loyal to Barack Obama and remain focused on the economy as the top issue our country faces today.”

To review the frequency questionnaire, please visit Democracy Corps.

Key Findings

Some other key findings include:

  • Much like last year, these participants want to see the Obama administration make one issue their top priority: job growth. Sixty-six percent think that improving the employment market should be the principal focus for the President and Congress. The next most important priority – protecting healthcare reform – sits at 9 percent.
  • While respondents are neutral about their own personal finances, they are pessimistic about the economy as a whole, giving it a net negative favorability rating in which just 15 percent have a positive view of the economy.
  • Progressives least want Mitt Romney to face President Obama in the 2012 election and by a wide margin believe that he will be the nominated candidate of the GOP.
  • While Netroots Nation is most focused on the presidential race (with half of respondents naming it their top priority), near 30 percent said their top priority for 2012 is for the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Labor unions, and commentator Rachel Maddow are held in very high regard by this audience, while the Democratic Party and Democrats in Congress are given near neutral ratings.


These results are based on a straw poll of 519 conference attendees of the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis, MN. The poll was conducted via SMS (text messaging), iPads onsite, and an online platform.


Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is the world’s premium research and strategic consulting firm, working with corporations, issue groups, and political campaigns throughout the United States and around the world. Find out more about us, along with the latest research and commentary from our principals and analysts, at

Nightmare of SMS- Coming True?

Derek Johnson, founder and CEO of Tatango, wrote yesterday in an op-ed on Mobile Marketing Watch that he has been having nightmares of where the SMS industry is headed:

“Recently I’ve been having horrible nightmares. These nightmares aren’t the kind I had when I was a child though, these are much worse. These nightmares take me into the future and give me a glimpse of what the SMS industry has become.”

We addressed this problem in 2010 and while we can say we’ve had the same nightmares, we can also unfortunately say we’ve seen it start to happen outside of the dream world. We wrote about this issue a while back when Republican campaigns used SMS spamming to suppress votes in the 2010 election. After buying and illegally uploading mobile phone numbers to their own list, Republican campaigns sent out SMS spam messages through emailing the phone numbers by Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). This completely bypassed the legal measure of consumers opting-in to a mobile list they want to receive information from and whether they wanted it or not, their phones were inundated with messages.

Johnson continues with a detailed look into his nightmares, which are too close to reality for comfort:

“My nightmares always start with the consumer. I see consumer after consumer grow frustrated with the concept of ‘SMS marketing.’ I watch as their phones beep every few minutes signaling the arrival of another unwanted SMS advertisement. Parents take their mobile phones into the stores requesting SMS be removed as a feature, while children become immune to the flood of SMS spam, just as in present day I’ve become immune to email SPAM. What hurts me the most is that I hear business owners joke to their cohorts that it’s now referred to as ‘SMS spamming’, not ‘SMS marketing’.”

You can read more about Johnson’s nightmare here, but we must listen to his plea for SMS providers to come together:

“So to answer the question, ‘who’s killing SMS marketing?,’ it’s unfortunately the same people that are trying to promote it, the SMS providers. This piece is more of a call to action, than it is a blog post. Starting today, I’m calling for all SMS providers to band together and put a stop to this self-destructive practice. If we don’t act now, my nightmares will soon become our harsh reality.”

We would like to make the same ask. This is not a competition and we must work together to meet Derek Johnson’s call to action.


We Need A New SMS Pricing Structure

The United States is the last country in the world to charge for both outgoing and incoming text messages. Not only do we charge for MOs and MTs (Mobile Originated and Terminated) with SMS messaging, but the rates are much too high. With no competition, the carriers have no reason to stop charging for an inbound text message or lower the cost. Along with this issue, international messaging and MMS costs are currently unbearable.

But there may be a new threat to the carriers in town – Apple’s new iMessage system. According to Apple, there are over 200 million iOS devices owned, creating a large pool of people that now have access to free messaging. Users of iOS 5 will now have the ability to send messages, pictures and videos for free, with no delay, from iPhone to iPhone. Lookout SMS, there’s a new player in town.

Now, we’re not saying that iMessages will end SMS messaging – as we saw with Blackberry and its Blackberry Messenger application, this type of system can’t single handedly stop SMS. However, there is the potential that everyone will at one point agree that one system is better than another – if we all go out and purchase iPhones or Blackberrys – and then SMS wouldn’t be necessary for any messaging across platforms. But when has everyone agreed on one thing? There will always be someone who prefers Blackberry to the iPhone or the iPhone to the Android, etc. And because of that, we will always need SMS to organize people across multiple platforms.

Nonetheless, this is a new chance for carriers to loosen their grip on these high priced SMS fees. With the ability for people to send free messages, carriers should look into creating more unlimited messaging packages or change their fees to only charging for outbound texts.

We can also factor in the costs of SMS internationally – a fee that is unfortunately through the roof. However, there is competition there as well with apps such as “What’s App,” “Ping!,” and “Skype Mobile” – both allow you to message people internationally for free.

SMS won’t die and it will always be needed. Similar to when the movie industry said that TV would kill film and that never happened, film just needed to evolve. And that is what SMS must do as well.  It will always be necessary to communicate with people on separate platforms with SMS, but iMessages, along with BBM and any other device-to-device application (is Android next?) or free messaging app, will hopefully be the push toward lower SMS fees and the competition we’ve been waiting for to create a fair system for the consumer.