Campaign Web Sites Examined

  • September 15, 2008

Many observers have suggested the 2008 presidential campaign was the first Internet election, in which campaigns and citizens would make extensive use of the Web for organizing, fund-raising, networking, and announcing news.

With roughly seven weeks left in the final phase of the campaign, how are the campaigns using the Web? How developed are their Web campaigns? Which candidate has the edge online, and how so?

A new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds both campaigns' official sites are now quite advanced beyond anything we saw in previous years. For much of the campaign, Obama enjoyed a clear advantage in the new medium. Yet in the last few weeks, much as presidential preference polls have tightened, the McCain campaign has narrowed the gap online, substantially adding features and content since his nomination at the Republican Convention. New features, such as a social networking component, now rivals Obama's. Nonetheless, entering the last turn in the race, Obama's online social network of registered users is more than five times larger than McCain's, according the sites' own accounting, and his site draws almost three times as many unique visitors each week.

Read the full report McCain vs. Obama on the Web on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.