According to recent results published by Pew Research Center, nearly one in four Americans regularly use the web to learn about presidential candidates and their campaign.
Hopefully you have seen at least a little of the varied and creative ways that the presidential candidates have been using the internet to engage potential voters? Over the last three months I’ve really enjoyed reading the many reports about different various uses of online technology used by candidates and ways to track the campaign Also many internet marketing and analytic experts have been chiming in with web analysis on the campaigns.
Track the Election Online
Google maps has been helping us visualize the primares and how candidates are performing on a live basis, take a look at this map of the New Hampshire Primary. You can visit Map the Candidates to see where they have campaigned! Yahoo has a Political Dashboard that you can visit and track the candidates in a nice flash layout. MSN chimes in with an Elections ’08 Leaderboard and a Candidates and Issues Matrix. If that’s not enough check out the Super Tuesday ’08 Channel on YouTube.
I also went to the homepages of seven candidates. McCain was the only one who didn’t have links to MySpace, Facebook, and other sites like YouTube on his homepage. He did have an online community called McCainSpace on his site. McCain is by no means the only candidate to create their own social network though. Obama also has created a social network, my.BarackObama.
I followed the links from each candidates official sites to their MySpace and Facebook profiles. Here are the friend counts (rounded down to the nearest thousand) as of Jan 26.
- Barack Obama 234,000 friends
- Hillary Clinton 169,000 friends
- John Edwards 52,000 friends
- Ron Paul 119,000 friends
- Mitt Romney 34,000 friends
- Mike Huckabee 31,000 friends
- John McCain 42,000 friends
- Rudy Giuliani 10,000 friends
- Barack Obama 271,000 friends
- Hillary Clinton 81,000 friends
- John Edwards 37,000 friends
- Ron Paul 77,000 friends
- Mitt Romney 33,000 friends
- Mike Huckabee 45,000 friends
- John McCain 30,000 friends
- Rudy Giuliani 17,000 friends
Barack Obama has an enormous lead in both networks, his Facebook support is not that much smaller than the support of every other candidate combined. Also of note on Facebook is a group called “Stop Hillary Clinton: (One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary)“. This group currently has 729,000 members!
Web Experts Take on the Election
One of Google’s most addicted new tools is Google Trends and it’s been absolutely fascinating to follow the Obama vs Clinton battle on their tracker. Note: If you would like to learn more about how to use Google Trends this is a good video for starters.
They have slacked off a bit in the last few weeks, but Compete.com has run many excellent stories analyzing the Presidential Candidates Online data. Their most recent election post, Candidate FaceTime in December, was a great post to check out.
The guys at HubSpot have written a few very interesting posts looking into the Presedential campaign and their marketing habits, but I have to say the Internet Marketing Report on Presidential Campaign Websites was their best piece of work. Also while I’m plugging these guys if you have never used their Website Grader tool then I highly recommend running your site through a 10 minute test, it’s free!
TechCrunch, a blog devoted to discussing breaking tech news, as been running their own primaries. As they put it:
TechCrunch wants to provide a voice for digital policy and technology issues in the upcoming U.S. Presidential election, and so we’ve decided to hold our own political primaries online. Voting will be open from Tuesday, December 18 through noon pst Monday, January 28. TechCrunch will endorse one candidate from each the Democratic and Republican party as the pro-tech candidate based on the popular results of reader voting and blog input from our community of technology leaders and entrepreneurs.
Just yesterday they gave their endorsements choosing Obama and McCain.
Tools to assist in making an Educated Decision
I would like to close by encouraging everyone to go out and vote. Being from South Carolina I’ve already cast my vote and hope that you will do the same. I’m not in the business of telling you who to vote for, or even push my opinion upon you, but please be responsible and do the research to make your own educated choice. Besides checking all the candidates sites here are a few tools that I’ll suggest that ask questions to tell you how candidates align with your beliefs.
- Select a Candidate put together by Minnesota Public Radio
- 2008 Presidential Candidate Selector by SelectSmart.com