15 February 2008

It's the Turnout, Stupid

I took another look at the "Chesapeake Primary" results and compared them with what's happened so far in other states. While the turnout story has gotten some attention from the national media, it hasn't received nearly the amount it deserves.

The single most newsworthy item this campaign year continues to be the impressive turnout, particularly for Democrats. In Virginia - a state that chose President Bush over Senator Kerry in 2004 - Senator Obama received more votes on his own than all six Republican candidates on the ballot.

A huge chunk of turnout this year is drawn from younger and first-time voters, and the bulk of those votes are going to Senator Obama - and his campaign is really the last campaign standing that uses social media as a powerful organizing tool.

Everyone uses the online channel to raise money - some better than others. The Obama campaign is aggressively using MySpace - and importantly, other online powerhouse organizations like MoveOn.org - to not only raise money, but turn out voters.

You don't have to agree with his politics to be impressed with his results.

Senator McCain's "presumptive nominee" status may make GOP races a little less exciting and turnout on that side may be depressed a bit, so it may not be fair to compare turnout on each side going forward. I suspect, however, that the strategic application of certain social media tools is having an impact. We'd know more if someone just added a question like "where did you get your information about the election" in the exit polls and see what young voters say.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Hey, don't you mean the "Crab Cake" Primary? ;-)