Online Trends Shaping Campaign 2008
By: Holly Brantley
Candidates like Mike Huckabee know the Internet is a powerful took in Campaign 2008. In a message to his Facebook friends, he says he believes the Internet will play a huge role in the campaign as supporters log on.
"It's important because it's our generation that's expanding," said Southeast Missouri State University freshman Nick Boemler.
Young voters say social networking sites like Facebook fuel political interests among people who might not otherwise take an interest in politics. But, not everyone agrees Facebook helps voters make informed decisions.
"I wouldn't use it," said Caitlin Brown. "I think you can find a better opinion on other sites. They really get into bashing."
While young people dominate the sites, supporters include voters of all ages. Currently, Democrat Barack Obama has more than 200,000 supporters. That's three times more than Hilary Clinton.
On the Republican side, Ron Paul has twice as many supporters as Mike Huckabee.
"A lot of students are really passionate about it," said Brown. "A lot of clubs really get into politics."
Some political experts think the Internet might be the best way to see who's ahead in the race for the White House. But counting supporters is only part of the latest way pollsters keep an eye on who's ahead. Some sites actually compile constant data on who's searching for each candidate. To some experts that might be a better indicator of voter's behavior than traditional polling methods.
A site called TechPresident tracks which candidates are gaining ground online. At eventful.com, grassroots supporters discover and create political events. From social sites, to Internet tracking, most people agree the Internet is changing campaigns of today by the second.