Philosophy & Strategy

McKeon & Associates, formed in 1973, is a global public opinion research and strategic marketing firm.

Michael McKeon, president of McKeon & Associates, has distinguished himself by accurately interpreting results to predict significant societal trends. The firm conducts research and designs successful winning strategies for Democrats, Independents and Republicans. The research and analysis is designed to give our clients the best opportunity to succeed without partisan or ideological agendas. Successful strategies are based on what people think not on what is hoped or suggested they think in surveys.

His analysis of the changing American cultural paradigm have been featured in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Investor's Business Daily, The London Times, Newsweek, Time, Business Week, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun Times, Crain's Chicago Business Drudge Report and the Daily Caller.

He has been a featured speaker at AT&T's Conference on Navigating the Information Superhighway, International Events Group annual marketing seminar, the Freedom Form's Paul Miller Journalist Fellowship seminar, the National Governors' Association Directors Conference, the COMDEX technology trade show and is a political script consultant for writers at Saturday Night Live. He was selected to be a member of the American Israel Public Affairs committee's Political Consultant's Mission to Israel. The 16 member mission was briefed by the leaders of Israel's Media, Military, Business and Government - including private meetings with leaders of the Knesset, National Security Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


The firm’s hallmark is its unique ability to identify national trends and integrate them into successful marketing strategies.

McKeon & Associates list of clients includes: Wal-Mart, Sears, AT&T, POET – Bio refining, The American Cancer Society, Advocates for Highway Safety, Commonwealth Edison, Gatorade, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, Spokane Tribe, Puyallup Tribe, Ho-Chunk Nation, AARP, Americas Pac, Freedom Group, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Crain's Business, Gold Coast Art Fair (Chicago IL), Encanto Street Fair and Cultural Arts Festival (San Diego, CA), former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Dennis Hastert (20 years) and over 700 political candidates from both political parties and referendum committees.

Recent Polls

Message Drives Mediums, Not More Money

Mon March 9, 2015 at 6:10 PM
Michael McKeon President McKeon Associates
Michael McKeon
President, McKeon & Associates

The purpose of political messaging is to reach voters who support a candidate and inspire them to vote for them. The other goal is to persuade voters and sway them to vote for a particular candidate.

My firm, McKeon and Associates, conducted a poll last May that showed Mayor Rahm Emanuel would have problems getting reelected because he was out of sync with the voters. His primary election campaign did little to rectify the problem. The mayor ran a nearly perfect traditional, state of the art campaign. He outspent his runoff opponent $13 million to $1.3 million. He flooded the mainstream media with his commercials and for good measure he brought in the president to endorse him and cut an ad.

What were the results? Not much changed in terms of the perception Chicago voters had of him from the poll by McKeon and Associates in May. The reason was he never reached the people who would be voting in the primary election with a strong enough message for them to pay attention. His messages were designed for the sensibilities of mainstream media and mainly reached the demographics mentioned below.

Reaching voters depends more on messages that resonate with the voters than money. Using mainstream media to inform the electorate has many limitations; two of the major ones are it reaches a limited demographic of voters and makes it difficult to deliver high-intensity targeted messages. The major broadcast network shows have a median age of 53.9 years old. Live television viewing is down 13 percent for all ages except for viewers 55 and up according to recent studies. A large majority of those under 55 get their information from the internet.

Social networks provide voters who follow politics unlimited access to information and different perspectives. Blogs and other political platforms provide opportunities to discuss candidates and issues with great passion without the filters of political correctness and partisan sensibilities. Viral information seekers do not rely on mainstream media to give them the “correct” information.

On the national level Senators Cruz and Warren resonate with viral voters because they speak directly to them without regard to their party’s consultant driven position on an issue. The more powerful the message, the better the chance it has of being viewed on the internet. In the extreme ISIS’ beheadings and cage burnings have little to do with inflicting more misery on their victim. It is used to rouse the faithful and recruit new followers to action.

Reliable polling is another important factor in creating messages that attract voters. If the proper numbers of cellphone interviews are not included in a survey important demographic like women and younger voters are missed. A large majority of these groups have cellphones as their only number. McKeon and Associates’ research also shows that people who seek political information online are far more likely to vote.

Social networking and endless venues of information and entertainment have another influence on elections. In turn, they both lower turnout. People follow other interests with the same devotion that some do to politics and with the same detachment to other subjects.

If politics has no immediate relevance to people they completely shut it out. Jim Downey, a longtime writer for Saturday Night Live, wrote a brilliant piece called the “Undecided Voter.” The skit asked professional types who were undecided on who to vote for president what issue would be key to making their decision. They gave completely ridiculous and uninformed answers. If well informed people don’t pay enough attention to give an informed answer on what would sway their vote, they are probably not going to vote. The same applies to other groups.

Mayor Emanuel’s recent campaign used the most sophisticated and expensive GOTV and voter ID models. It enhanced the system that President Obama used in his reelection with many of the same people.

As a result, the turnout was 8 percent lower than four years ago and his campaign did not deliver enough votes in a low turnout election to avoid a runoff.

In today’s world, message moves medium. The messages that are delivered virally that are challenging and powerful have a much better chance of influencing the voters candidates are seeking than spending millions of dollars on mainstream media commercial.

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For more information please call 815-723-5560
Click here to view previous polls.

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