In an era of doggie day care and puppy yoga, the White House is aiming to turn the intense devotion of some to man’s best friend into an edge in the presidential campaign.
President Obama features Bo , his Portuguese water dog, in campaign advertisements and fundraising pitches .
Committed pet parents have become just one of the microconstituencies that both presidential campaigns are attempting to woo for money and votes.
Among the other specially targeted groups are military families, stay-at-home moms, college students and various users of social media.
But perhaps no other pitch is quite as narrowly focused or unusual as that being made to pet owners.
Fashion icon Anna Wintour announced earlier this month that Marc Jacobs would design pet gear for the Obama campaign, an operation that was already pitching a catalog of pet garments, including “Cats for Obama” collars and an “Obama Dog” sweater, to help fill campaign coffers.
But whom are they targeting?
“Pet owners would likely fall into the moderate-to-high-income suburbanite group that is on the target list for both campaigns this cycle,” said Republican strategist Brian Donahue, who analyzes voter tendencies. “It’s not that far-fetched. Targeting what matters the most to these people truly makes a difference.”
In an era of niche audiences, he said some voters would shape their preferences not just by how the White House contenders relate to their anxieties but their pets’ as well.
“We know that Republicans are bourbon drinkers and Democrats are Volvo owners — I’m serious, it gets that specific,” Donahue said.