NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Campaigning via the Web

April 7, 2004

Political campaigns are directing their resources toward the Internet hoping to attract voters and support, according to BusinessWeek. They are hiring web-savvy consultants to put together Internet sites featuring Web commercials and video, on-line literature and opportunities for volunteers to participate and donate.

  • Despite Howard Dean's primary losses, his on-line campaign raised $19 million in contributions, prompting other candidates to use the Internet as well.
  • In the 10 days following Super Tuesday, John Kerry's on-line campaign raised an average of $1 million per day.
  • The Republicans have an e-mail address list of 6 million names -- a 3 to1 advantage in e-mail addresses over Democrat

Activists have also taken advantage of the Web to organize protests and draw support:

  • The liberal advocacy group used the Internet to gather support for several anti-war rallies last year that drew about 10 million protesters world-wide.
  • A Washington political consultant used the Web to gather 20,000 supporters and $23,000 to fight a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

About 20 percent of the population is connected on-line at home, and the Internet provides an easy way for campaigns to get out the message in ways other than simply printed literature. Plus, Web sites are much cheaper for campaigns when compared to traditional mailings and door-to-door pitches. Best of all, Web sites provide a way for candidates to garner small donations on-online, which add up to big bucks for campaigns.

Source: Stephen Baker, "Click the Vote," BusinessWeek, March 29, 2004.

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