Saturday, April 18, 2009

Research on the 2008 Election

(Cross-posted from Epic Journey)

A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project has some findings that cast light on politics in 2008 and beyond:

  • Among the entire population the Internet is now equal to newspapers and roughly twice as important as radio as a source of election news and information.
  • Voters are moving away from news sites with no point of view, and towards sites that match their own political viewpoints.
  • Due to demographic differences, McCain voters were more likely than Obama voters to use the Internet. But online Obama supporters were generally more engaged in the online political process and were more likely to post original content, share content with others, sign up for updates , give money to a candidate online, set up news alerts and sign up online for campaign activities.
  • Perhaps most relevant for those planning 2010 campaigns is the following: 83 percent of those age 18-24 have a social networking profile, and two-thirds of young profile owners took part in political activity on these sites in 2008.
In Epic Journey, we place a good deal of emphasis on the rules of the nomination process. In a recent paper at the annual meeting of Midwest Political Science Association, Caitlyn Dwyer confirms the crucial role of the rules. Specifically, she finds that Obama won under proportional representation, Clinton would have been leading in delegates under a winner-take-all system. On the Republican side, conversely, Romney would have been leading in delegates if the Republican Party had used proportional representation.

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