Online Activity Increasing in 2008

We’ve noticed this in the last two months based upon the level of fundraising we’ve processed in what traditionally are some of the quietest in political fundraising- 2008 is not going to be any normal election.

In two pieces this weekend, the effects of the Presidential race have been pointed out in the changing strategies not only with fundraising but online engagement on the part of campaigns.

From the Wall Street Journal

[Chart]But the Web is about buzz as much as it is a tool. An
ability to convey early online success of some kind has an importance
all its own. With at least 13 candidates actively in the running so
far, and the New Hampshire primary still 10 months away, it is a way
for campaigns now to show concrete momentum and garner crucial early
attention.

"You had the money primary. The endorsement primary.
Now, you have a Web 2.0 primary going on concurrently with the
traditional money and consultant chase and stuff like that," says
Howard Mortman, a former MSNBC producer, blogger and now head of the
public-affairs practice at New Media Strategies, an Arlington, Va.,
Internet market-research firm.

  Still, the amount of money and attention being spent
by the campaigns on their sites this year is significant, Mr. Noble
says. Greater emphasis by campaigns on the Internet "is recognition
that the game is radically changing … It’s the Moore’s Law in
politics. Every two years it all doubles or more but this year, it’s
more than doubled."

And from Matt Stoller at MyDD

We’ll see what happens when the candidates report their Q1 numbers.
Despite a largely undistinguished set of internet campaigns, I’m going
to guess that online donations have exploded.  Hillary Clinton, the
most conservative of the Democratic candidates, is getting lots online.
Barack Obama and John Edwards, positioned slightly to the left, are
probably getting in huge quantities of online small dollar cash as
well. 

I know a fair number of online fundraising experts, and they all say
that transparency in fundraising is a really powerful tool.  Say how
much you want to raise, say why you want to raise it, ask for it, and
show how much you’ve raised so far.  Rinse, repeat.  None of the
candidates are doing this.  Clinton has come the closest with her
million dollars in a week, and Edwards did well with Coulter Cash (he
blew through the $100K target but didn’t announce it for some reason).

That these campaigns are not working their online fundraising
channels as well as they will later in the season, even as they bring
in massive numbers of small dollar donors, suggests that a new and
dramatically expanded hunger for a way to participate in politics is
real.  We could see between 5-10 million donors in the political system
this cycle, which is around 1-3% of the country’s population.  That’s
huge.  Americans are paying attention, and an increasingly
large number are getting involved.  If that translates, like it did in
2004, to a post-Presidential election involvement in local politics,
we’re looking at a political system with different levers of power.

2 comments
  1. It’s a shame the WSJ didn’t look at facebook numbers, Barack Obama is crushing on facebook, with over 320,000 members of “Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)” which was completely self-organized.

  2. Karl-T said:

    I agree, though I would suspect they didn’t have as easy of access to Facebook since it’s a more closed off system and only until recently open to the non-college crowd.

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