WATPA: FW: Web use in 2008 political campaigns shattering records in U.S.

From: Norm Jacknis <norm@jacknis.com>
Date: Sun Jun 22 2008 - 18:41:15 EDT

Web use in 2008 political campaigns shattering records in U.S.
Heather Havenstein

June 18, 2008 (Computerworld)

Fueled by increased viewing of online political videos and the use of social
networks to gather campaign data and online donations for candidates, use of
the Internet in this year's election cycle is shattering records, according
to a study released this week (download PDF)
<http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_2008_election.pdf> .

A record-breaking 46% of Americans have used the Internet, e-mail or cell
phone text messaging to get news about a campaign or to share their views,
according to the "The Internet and the 2008 Election" report compiled by the
Pew Internet & American Life Project. So far, according to the report,
supporters of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are using online tools for election
matters more often that those of rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

At this point in the 2004 election cycle, 31% of Americans had used the
Internet to get political news and information. The report noted that the
difference between the elections is more than the total number of Americans
who used the Internet during the entire 2004 campaign for political
information, according to Pew Internet & American Life. "Moreover, the
proportion of Americans getting political news and information on any given
day in the spring of 2008 has more than doubled compared with a similar
period in 2004," the report said.

After the 2004 race, for example, 13% of adults said they had watched an
online video of any kind about the campaign or election. This year, 35% of
the 2,200-plus Internet users surveyed reported that they watched an online
political video.

At this point in the current campaign, 8% of Internet users have donated
money to a candidate online; only 3% of Internet users said they had done
this when asked in the fall of 2006. In addition, 10% of users said they
have used a social network such as Facebook or MySpace.com to gather
political information or to become involved with a campaign.

Among younger votes, two-thirds of Internet users younger than 30 have a
social networking profile, and half of those said they use social networks
to get or share political information, the report said.

Further, 39% of Americans online have used the Internet to access
"unfiltered" campaign materials like video of candidate debates, speeches
and announcements or candidate position papers. The study also found a
significant growth of user-generated content in comparison with the first
time Pew asked this type of question in the 2006 midterm elections.

For example:

* 11% of Americans have forwarded or posted someone else's commentary
about a political race.

* 5% have posted original commentary or analysis.

* 6% have donated money to a candidate or party online.

* 12% of 18-to-29-year-olds online have posted their own political
commentary or writing to an online newsgroup, Web site or blog.

Obama was an early supporter of Web 2.0 technologies, and that effort
appears to be paying off, according to the study. In a head-to-head match
with McCain, Obama supporters are more likely to sign an online petitions
(18% compared with 11% of McCain supporters), sign up to receive e-mails
from the candidates or campaigns (17% vs. 8%), contribute money online (13%
vs. 5%), post their own commentary (8% vs. 4%) and volunteer online for
activities related to the campaign.

More online Republicans (66%) than online Democrats (58%) are likely to say
that the Internet is full of misinformation that voters believe to be
accurate, Pew noted. However, Democrats online are more like to say the
Internet helps them feel more connected to the candidates they support.

Alan Rosenblatt, a blogger at TechPresident, noted that
_record_setting_election_according_to_new_pew_study> the study underscores
the importance of not asking whether the Internet will ever elect a
president. Instead, voters and candidates should accept the fact that
candidates can no longer afford to downplay the importance of the Internet
to their campaigns.

"The report makes clear that previous expectations about voter attention and
behavior are no longer certain predictors of future elections," Rosenblatt
noted. "Though we are still four and a half months from the election, voter
attention to it already rivals levels expected in October, based on past
experience. Not only do voters use the Internet to learn about the
candidates and the issues, but they are [also] sharing it with others. This
is most important. It means that what people learn on the Internet
influences nearly everyone in the country."

The report highlights that Obama's efforts to use the Internet to reach out
to voters -- especially young voters -- "are paying off huge," he added.
"They are spreading the word online, donating money and voting in droves;
all things that political scientists have long predicted wouldn't happen,"
Rosenblatt said.

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Received on Sun Jun 22 18:41:23 2008

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