The internet and the 2008 election (Pew)
This report highlights information seeking on the internet, which is becoming an increasingly-used source for voter information. Unfortunately, at the moment, the internet is most useful for national elections. Statewide and, especially, local election information is still difficult to locate on the internet. Local voter advocacy groups would be well-served to focus on sharing their local voter information in the formats and customized for the tasks mentioned below.
Smith and Rainie (2008) specifically focused on voters’ use of the internet in the 2008 election. The authors found that use of the internet to get news about the campaigns, share views, and mobilize others has increased by more than 10% since 2004.
Online videos and social networking sites, in particular, played a significantly larger role for the recent election. In fact, 39% of online Americans have used the internet to gain access to primary political documents and observe campaign events.
An interesting demographic note is that young voters tilt towards the Democrats generally. Despite this, wired Americans have mixed views about the overall impact of the internet on politics, concerned that it is a megaphone for extreme viewpoints and a source of misinformation for many voters.
Smith, A. and Rainie, L. (2008). The internet and the 2008 election. Pew Internet and American Life Project Report. Retrieved February 28, 2009, from http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_2008_election.pdf