WASHINGTON, DC—An emerging segment of highly engaged, tech-savvy, and vocal voters is poised to impact the outcome of the 2008 national elections, according to new research from Yahoo!, HCD Research, and Hall and Partners.
The study, entitled “The Rise of Citizen 2.0: Radically Rethinking Democracy in the Digital Age,” examines the changing role of the Internet in shaping political activity and discourse.
“Citizen 2.0” represents a slight majority (51 percent) of Americans, who crave information about politics to a greater extent than traditional voters, and are much more likely to use technology to share their political views and opinions. According to the study, presidential candidates should be tapping into the $5.4 billion political advertising market to reach these voters online.
“More candidates are using the Internet to reach voters, but overall, politicians are spending a tiny portion of their budgets online, just as most corporations were doing several years ago,” said Richard Kosinski, vice president of political advertising for Yahoo!.
“We don’t think the 2008 election will turn on which candidate has the best blog or wiki. But we are saying that many campaigns are missing the important opportunity to tap into the great enthusiasm that Citizen 2.0 brings to the political process – and it’s easier than ever to do given the innovations in technology, the rise of social media, and the advancements in online advertising.”
Yahoo! will share the findings of this new research study at its first ever political summit in Washington, D.C., before an audience of political influencers including campaign managers, strategists, and academics. The summit will focus in part on key online advertising trends and best practices being leveraged by the candidates today.
“More and more political candidates are discovering that the power of the Internet boosts their campaigns’ momentum by connecting them with engaged, committed voters,” said Carol Darr, an expert on new media and politics and an adjunct lecturer at Harvard’s School of Kennedy Government.
“Today’s tech-savvy candidates are expanding their use of the Internet to include strategic online advertising that connects with supporters who are likely to spread the candidates’ messages via online word of mouth, using email, instant messaging, and social media.”
. Researchers also found that these voters rely on the Internet as their most trusted, and frequently used resource for gathering information, and communicating about politics:
- 87 percent use news Web sites to gather information and learn about politics
- 82 percent use search engines
- 56 percent use candidate Web sites
- 51 percent use blogs and politically-based Web sites
- 40 percent use online political groups
Yahoo! has revamped and expanded its elections Web site (http://elections.yahoo.com), and hosted an online MashUp debate in September with the Huffington Post and Slate Magazine.
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