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Youth and the Web: The Political Campaign Game-Changer

It’s hard to dismiss the role of the Internet in this year’s elections. Both political parties are using online strategies to an extent never seen before in a political campaign. From daily candidate blogs with updates on issues, to made-for-YouTube commercials, to the use of technologies such as SMS to announce vice presidential selections, to — perhaps most discussed — the use of online tools for fundraising, the Internet has become a dominant force in this election.

In fact, young voters in particular have come to expect that they can gather information about candidates and issues online, and a failure by candidates to address this expectation may negatively impact their campaigns and their fundraising.

Results of a recent election survey indicate that while TV ads are still considered the most effective way to reach voters, e-mail and Web sites are now ranked higher than phone or radio campaigns. Furthermore, among young voters (18 to 24 years old) less than 5 percent say that direct mail is effective. (Visit the E-Voter Institute for more information.) Meanwhile, a recent survey indicated that a full 36 percent of quiz takers didn’t watch presidential candidates’ acceptance speeches on TV during the recent conventions.