Will the internet have an effect on the US presidential election of 2008?
The 2004 election saw a major change with the internet involved. For the first time ever, micro-donations made a difference and got noticed. The conversation online was rampant. People were screaming. I was so overly optimistic, I spent most of my time looking out to the rest of the world online knowing that people around the Earth who could not vote, could still influence voters.
But unfortunately, it wasnt JibJab, blogs, Howard Dean or anyone else online that decided the election in 2004, it was the TV commercials in rural America that played the greatest influence. And all that was required to win the most TV commercials was winning the most money.
The people who actually went out to vote were the people in small towns who didint know what a blog was and mostly didnt spend time online – they were not connected.
At the time, a survey estimated that 44% of US households were well connected whereas today, four years later, the number has grown only 13% to 57% [via]. The majority of these people are in the smaller towns.
While playing a large role, I’m inclined to believe that Sillicon Valley did not elect Obama, but that Obama truly represents the goodness and change that we all need so much after eight full years of intense damage by the worst president in the history of the world. The primary election was likely won by Democrats in all walks of life, but this has little to do with the greater Republican fight.
Now its time to win the election and it’s the people in the small towns that matter the most.
For the last several elections, an overwhelming majority of all cities in the US with a population over 500,000 voted Democrat and almost all that were under 500,000 voted Republican [via].
The 2008 Election will be different but will it be different enough? Broadband pentration has slowed in reaching the smaller towns. Perhaps the youngest of the generations in the small towns are connecting, but perhaps they are too young to vote, and those that are older enough, may not actually make it out to the polls.
In otherwords, just because it seems obvious that the Democrats should win, it’s not going to be easy.