Obama's $750 Million Juggernaut
The letters, besides making money, would reach millions of people, with strong arguments in favor of Eisenhower and Nixon. Most importantly, we would then have hundreds of thousands of small contributors who had "bet on a horse"—given small sums ranging from a dollar up to $25 or so to support Eisenhower's campaign.
We reasoned that anyone who contributed money for a candidate would be much more likely to go out and vote for that candidate on Election Day.
We sent out an initial test of 10,000 of each of 10 letters, and in each case we said, "If you would like to see Eisenhower elected President, please send back the enclosed contribution card, together with your contribution and your name and address."
The cards were keyed, so we were able to count results.
The letter—which concentrated on foreign policy—would seem, on the face of it, to relate less directly to the voters' strong personal interests and problems than did some of the other letters. They concentrated on high taxes, inflation, big government interfering with the little voter's rights and privileges, and government waste dipping into the voter's pocketbook. In reviewing the 10 letters we put out, I did not particularly expect [the foreign policy] letter to be the big winner. But that's what testing is all about; it replaces guesses with facts!
The Surprising Winner
Nine out of the 10 letters pulled almost exactly the same. The tenth letter, "Coddling the Russians," which talked about Korea, and the seemingly never-ending war in which America had gotten embroiled, pulled about 2-1/2 times as well as any of the other letters.
It was a striking, clear-cut proof that the war in Korea outweighed every other political appeal Eisenhower could make.
The results were so conclusive that we put together a report, and Walter Williams, Chairman of the Citizens for Eisenhower-Nixon Committee, got on a plane and hurried out west, where Eisenhower was campaigning, and showed him these results. A few days later, Eisenhower made his famous "I shall go to Korea" speech, and suddenly his campaign was off and running.