Negative Marketing in Political Campaigns and Its Effect on the Voting Decision of the Indian Millennial
In an unprecedented event, the current ruling party of India – the BJP - won the UP election in 2017 after 15 years of domination by the Congress. In 2016, when all the pollsters and pundits statistically analyzed the ongoing election for US Presidency and predicted a Hillary Clinton victory, they all got it wrong. While the results seem miraculous in the eyes of the experts, the careful strategy executed by the political campaigners of all these parties involved a unique process of market segmentation, but more importantly, an effective manipulation of social media that was strong enough to change voting behavior. In this research we conducted a study that mimicked a social media political campaign of three Indian political parties and measured the effect of positive and negative fake news on the voting intention of the Indian millennial. We submitted the participants to a series or positive or negative news – all fabricated – about 3 main Indian political figures, Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi, while monitoring their subconscious emotional state. The results were stunning. We found that a mere 60 seconds was enough to heighten the participant emotional state and significantly alter participant perception and ratings about these politicians.