This election was much different than past elections for many reasons. The biggest change is the way that Barack Obama ran his election. He developed a very large Internet based campaign that included text messaging, easy donation giving, job application opportunities, a myspace page with an enormous base, 3 million supporters on facebook and over 10 million email addresses. He even announced his VP pick of Joe Biden with text messages. Needless to say a large Internet base overall. He changed the face of politics for many, especially for the youth in his race for the White House. Howard Dean tried this, but failed to win his bid in 2004. Obama’s strategy does not appear to be changing either. He now has change.gov, which is his website for the transition. It includes blogs, and videos of Obama, much like his campaign site minus the donation requests.
There is no doubt that there was a large pull with the website and other multi-media outlets to attract numerous people to vote who would may not have voted in previous elections. In fact, Pew Internet & Life Project note that 46% of ALL Americans have used the Internet, email, or text messaging to get information about the campaign. As stated by the Pew research:
· 74% of wired Obama supporters have gotten political news and information online, compared with 57% of online Clinton supporters.
· In a head-to-head matchup with Internet users who support Republican McCain, Obama’s backers are more likely to get political news and information online (65% vs. 56%).
· Obama supporters outpace both Clinton and McCain supporters in their usage of online video, social networking sites and other online campaign activities.
With the large range of campaign messages being relayed through mediums not the television, this helped with the large movement to get the youth involved.
Using tools that this demographic (youth being defined as 18-29) uses daily made Obama’s message easily accessible. There has been a huge push for the youth of the nation to come out and vote. Here is an internet video produced to get out the youth vote, much like many others.
And it worked, at least a little bit and in turn, the youth vote did come out. Just not as much as anticipated. In fact not much more than in 2004, just a 17% v. 18% difference. The distinction was the party they supported. They made their stand mostly in support of Obama. Sixty-six percent of voters under age 30 preferred Obama while just 32 percent favored McCain. But the truth is the youth vote did not prove to be a must have for Obama.
There is no denying that the landscape for campaigns has changed, and that the new way for candidates to get close to his or her constituents is going to be much more technologically based. That is not to say there is not still a great importance on face to face campaigning, but the added coverage has been tested and proven by our President-Elect Obama.