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Monday, January 28, 2008

Clinton or Obama? Who's Winning the Election on Web 2.0

Will Web 2.0 decide who wins the 2008 presidential election?

In the 1960 contest between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Kennedy's suave appearance next to Nixon's sickly pallor on that newfangled invention, the television, has been cited as a significant reason that Kennedy won instead of Nixon. Voters who listened to the two candidates on radio thought that Nixon won the debate, but those who watched on TV thought Kennedy the victor. Might we see the Internet play a similar role in 2008?

Voter Interest Metrics

Let's examine how well each of the candidates have used the Internet to promote their message.

dem rep trends

Judging by the Google Trends data, which indicate relatively how many searches are done for each candidate, Barack Obama is handily beating his competition (both Democratic and Republican). He's generated more interest from voters.


On the Republican front, Mitt Romney has just overtaken John McCain on Google Trends, but Huckabee and Giuliani are still far behind.

republican google trends


We can also see that among Democrats, Obama and Hillary Clinton are running head to head with Edwards trailing.

democrats google trends

Website Popularity

What about site traffic? Who gets more voters to visit their websites?alexa presidential traffic

We can see from Alexa's Traffic History Graph that Obama once again leads Hillary Clinton by a factor of almost 3 to 1, trouncing Mitt Romney, John Edwards, and John McCain. Clearly Obama's message of change is getting more reception (at least among the technologically-adept, who tend to be the core users of the Alexa toolbar).

Why might this be?

Examining their respective websites, we can see that Obama and Clinton are very good at capturing the names, zip codes and/or email addresses of their visitors so they can keep spa-- informing them about the latest developments. The first time you visit Obama's site you see a lead capture form, a classic internet marketing tactic for getting repeat traffic. Romney isn't as direct about this, and McCain doesn't do it at all.

All except McCain effectively leverage social media with Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr buttons featured on the homepage. The candidates also all tend to have some sort of private social network apart from their profiles on Facebook or MySpace.


Dig deeper, however, and you'll find one of the reasons that Obama is winning the mindshare of Internet users. Obama's site is much more fully developed than Clinton's, much of it contributed by fans and supporters.

BarackObama.com has 502,000 web pages indexed by Google compared to 42,400 web pages at HillaryClinton.com. This means BarackObama.com has more than 10 times as much content visible to Google (and more active members perhaps) than HillaryClinton.com. It could also be that Clinton's website needs serious search engine optimization (SEO).

On the Republican side, JohnMcCain.com has 7,520 pages indexed compared to 7,350 pages for MittRomney.com. In this, at least, we can see that the Republican candidate's reputation for conservatism - or lack of content - shines true.

Facebook Effect

Could BarackObama.com's popularity be due to his more adept Web 2.0 skill? Diving deeper into the metrics, we see that out of the 502,000 web pages indexed by Google, 334,000 pages were social networking profiles hosted on the subdomain my.BarackObama.com, telling us that BarackObama.com's members are incredibly active and the significant reason he has a lead over HillaryClinton.com in terms of content. By contrast, Connect.HillaryClinton.com only has 37,600 pages indexed. It definitely doesn't hurt when you hire Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes onto your New Media staff.

Needless to say, McCainSpace and Team Mitt are disappointing in comparison.


What about search engine marketing (SEM)? Wouldn't it be nice to get visitors searching for information about you to come directly to your site?

Neither Clinton nor Romney are advertising on search engines like Google to get their message across to voters. Aside from McCain, only Obama is currently doing so on keywords like "obama" and "barack obama".

obama google ad

Free SEM advice: To really get clever, Obama should start running ads on keywords like "hillary clinton", "clinton", "romney", and so on and get those searchers to his website instead. Convert presidential comparison shoppers as they look for information on the opposition.


Based on this preliminary analysis, Barack Obama is the definitive winner of the Web 2.0 game, engaging voters on multiple platforms to a much greater degree than opponents from either side of the aisle. Whether that changes from now to November depends on how seriously his opponents view Web 2.0 as a decisive medium for winning the presidential election.

Epilogue: Compared to Gallup

If Web 2.0 is changing the face of elections as much as television did to radio, can we still trust the old world polls like Gallup? Let's take a look at how our Web 2.0 results compare to the Gallup poll results of voter preference (before the South Carolina primary)? If Gallup is believed, McCain leads the Republican pack with a 10 point lead over Romney with Huckabee just behind. This of course runs contrary to our Google Trends results above which show Romney edging out McCain.

gallup poll republicans

Among Democrats, Gallup shows that Clinton maintains a shrinking 13 point lead over Obama with Edwards still trailing widely. In Web 2.0 land, Obama has already overtaken Clinton.

gallup poll democrats

So traditional polls seem to indicate just the opposite of what we have uncovered. Is this another "radio/television discrepancy"? What do you think?


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Comment Archive

Reader Comments:

I think to compare Gallup / web with tv and radio in 1960, you'd really have to find out if those polled by Gallup are looking on the internets as a news or information source (by information I mean more than recipes and jewelry shopping). Also, remember that Gallup have been wrong in their assumptions historically (Hail to President Dewey!) I think an interesting comparison between 1960 and today might be to find how many unique IP visits to the candidates websites actually translated into votes compared to homes with televisions in 1960 (about 52,000,000) and voter turnout then (around 68,000,000)

Obama is the candidate for the presidency and Clinton is a fake, she has had her time in the white house, no woman will become president of the America. The nasty comments made from Hillary Clinton's mouth about Obama, she should be slapped in her face. I believe that Obama is what this nation needs to change the way we live. I think that if Clinton is voted in, then Bill Clinton will be president again. America needs to have Bush gone and put a very strong president in place and the only candidate that can do this is OBAMA.

VOTE FOR CLINTON! she's the best. She stands up for woman's rights like no other. Also get hispanic votes, she'll try to help your family with immagration other than McCain or Obama. So dont waste your time! Vote now for Clinton...no matter what.

i think hilary clinton should win for president i think obama does not have oogd things to do ad for every person who is voting for clinton i love You


i personially think that Clinton should win. Obama is just tickling people ears.All he wants is to be in office so he can ruin this country. Vote for Clinton. That's your best bet. I know the bible says a woman shouldn't rule the country but right now we don't really have a choice.

I know that ppl. say OBAMA IS RIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY. but he isn't.he's STUPID. He dawged on working ppl. Vote for Clinton. Obama will make it a hard time in this world.I know ppl. are saying that Obama will teach this country a few things but he wont. He'll do what he said he would to make voters happy and then he will kill us all. If you have any respect for the kidsd of the future,VOte for Clinton. Maybe she did something wrong a few times but that isnt going to make her a bad person. Now I am 96 years old and i don't want for my great great grandchildren to go through hard times with Obama.If they go through hard times at all, I want it to be with Clinton. OBAMA just wants to rule. He's not gonna help this world. He's going to destroy it. Please from the bottom to the top of you're heaart, think about this. If Ombama does become president, stay with the rulers of all rulers, Jesus. Pray to him every night. Ask him to help this country. I'm considered to die soon, so help this country as much as I did as a child,teen, adult, and to the age of 90. PLEASE!!!

everyone is so stupid. The president elected this year will ruin America, no matter what. just watch. Everyone know clintons not going to win, and obama will ruin America, he doesnt even say the pledge of alliegence or the star spangled banner, instead, he faces the opposite way. 2012 will be a shock, as he will do drastic things at the end of his presidency.
To everyone i just want to let you know, if a new requirement comes out medically, dont take it

say its the law for everyone to take a pill, dont take it, or something else. be extra cautious 2012.



i think obama has more rights trying really help the one in need not the ones who r already rich!!!

i think obama should win because that will be the USA first African American to become president and i heard that if he wins it will be in my social studies book ain't that cool

John McCain you're going down by my brother obama and so r u Clinton
and just to let obama know im voting for u and ill never let u down

i honestly think for sure that obama will win. hes pretty sick. everyone loves him.

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