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Record setting 5 billion political texts sent in October 2020

Last updated on November 2, 2020

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RoboKiller, the app that eliminates unwanted spam calls and texts, reveals over 5 billion political text messages reached Americans in October alone – an 85% increase from September. According to RoboKiller’s proprietary political message trends, these estimated totals mark the highest number of political messages sent in a single month on record. 

2020 MONTHLY POLITICAL MESSAGE TOTALS

MonthEstimated Republican TextsEstimated Democrat TextsTotal Political Texts
January 2020244,130,29034,840,489256,704,967
February 2020305,294,84949,730,976327,066,731
March 2020382,100,20771,044,376417,059,916
April 2020478,298,046101,506,993531,892,751
May 2020599,034,632145,108,954678,705,990
June 2020350,439,888120,196,336470,636,224
July 2020747,533,492222,164,300952,550,431
August 20201,215,366,173623,932,8491,809,301,773
September 20201,869,531,967912,630,8922,734,926,097
October 20203,284,724,4351,836,908,3845,060,050,472

STATE-LEVEL POLITICAL MESSAGE TRENDS, OCTOBER 2020

In October 2020, California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania residents were among the top receivers with a combined 871 million political text messages – 35% of the total messages sent in October 2020.

RoboKiller’s October political message trends indicate that both Republican and Democratic parties focused their political text message efforts on swing states and states that had early voting in attempts to influence voter turnout and generate last minute campaign donations.

TOP 10 MOST POLITICALLY TEXT STATES, LAST 30 DAYS

StateRepublican TextsDemocrat TextsTotal
California154,679,45880,319,413234,998,871
Texas162,872,88556,441,294219,314,179
New York122,269,88261,336,774183,606,656
Florida100,205,58238,793,128138,998,709
Pennsylvania63,342,39830,953,36894,295,766
Georgia54,357,01120,400,83274,757,843
Illinois50,815,97220,987,82371,803,795
Ohio50,947,46719,895,72670,843,194
New Jersey47,443,82321,020,36968,464,191
North Carolina40,279,63019,255,97459,535,604

What is causing the explosion of political text messages this election season?

The uptick in text messages vs. phone calls in 2020 is reflective of the changing political campaign landscape and how parties and politicians are targeting voters. RoboKiller first identified a shift in June 2020, when political text totals increased by 50% from May 2020 and robocalls decreased 17%. Since then, the number of texts have continued to rise by an average of 30% each month, while political robocall totals remain stagnant.

These trends indicate that political text messaging is playing a critical role in 2020 campaigns, especially when it comes to fundraising. Nearly 80% of the text messages RoboKiller identified included a donation request to campaigns, Super PACs, or third-party fundraising organizations such as WinRed or ActBlue. With COVID-19 limiting in-person campaign tactics such as rallies or door knocking, texting has become one of the primary ways political campaigns are generating funding and voter support for one of the most contentious presidential elections in history.

Are all of these political messages legitimate?

Although phone scammers are always trying to take advantage of highly publicized current events like this presidential election, not all messages are scams – in fact the majority of messages RoboKiller identified in October were sent by politically affiliated organizations. Almost 50% of October 2020 political messages received by RoboKiller customers came from short codes, which are five or six digit phone numbers used by political campaigns to send and receive text messages.

However,  a legitimate source does not always mean they are wanted messages or contain factual information. Text messages and robocalls containing misleading information about mail-in voting and political candidates were another pain point for Americans this year. However, in recent months, RoboKiller has found that political texts containing misinformation targeted towards vulnerable voters in specific areas are happening at a lower rate than other election-related messages like donations or election surveys.

RoboKiller is working diligently to identify messages that include misinformation to hold senders accountable. If you’re aware of any targeted robocall or text message containing misinformation, RoboKiller may be able to help.

Will these political text messages stop after the polls close on November 3rd?

Given the uncertainty surrounding when America will have a declared winner of the presidential election, RoboKiller predicts political text message volume may continue to stay at elevated levels between the time the polls close on November 3rd and even after the election is over. Though no texts of this nature have yet to be identified, RoboKiller will be monitoring closely to ensure political texts are not misused to incite any action outside of donation requests and voter support following the official poll results.

About RoboKiller:
RoboKiller is one of the top iPhone utility apps in the US, helping users block over 500M telemarketers and robocalls from calling their phones. With over 5 billion robocalls made to US consumers each month, phone spam continues to be the #1 complaint to the FCC, driving hundreds of thousands of RoboKiller app downloads per month. RoboKiller, a Teltech brand, is a division of Mosaic Group, an IAC Company (NASDAQ: IAC).

RoboKiller employs an unbiased, anonymous machine-learning based approach to understand political message trends. The estimates above are based on RoboKiller’s proprietary data and user feedback and are for information purposes only. Robocall trends, text trends, and featured data are not a representation of any single political party, person, or organization’s campaign efforts.


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