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Thompson Site Traffic Plummets, Paul and Clinton Regain Top Spots

  |  November 12, 2007   |  Comments

Traffic to the Web homes of Democratic candidates has become more reflective of the actual race.

If traffic to presidential campaign sites influenced national polls of Republican candidates, media coverage might pay more attention to Web phenom Congressman Ron Paul and folksy social conservative Mike Huckabee. Traffic to their sites surpassed Fred Thompson's in October, after the celebrity politico had steamrollered past his GOP opponents in September.

Traffic to the Web homes of Democratic candidates, on the other hand, has become more reflective of their actual race. According to Hitwise, Senator Hillary Clinton's official site drew the most traffic in October, gaining over 7 points in traffic share after languishing in second and third place for months. Senator Barack Obama lost about four points and slipped to second with about 32 percent share last month.

Meanwhile, John Edwards held steady in the third spot, but dropped about 3 points in traffic share. However, while Clinton and Edwards each had around 22 percent traffic share in August, Edwards has lost 11 percentage points and Clinton picked up about 11 since then.

Senator Joe Biden, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson remain around the middle of the Dem site traffic pack, maintaining share of around 5 to 6 percent each. Senator Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel still hold the bottom two slots, with less than 4 percent traffic share.

Similar to the Republican race itself, site traffic to GOP candidate sites seems more topsy-turvy. After dashing past his Republican opponents and gaining the top traffic spot in September, Thompson fell to third place in October, dropping more than 24 points in traffic share. Paul stepped back into his long-held top spot, scoring nearly 40 percent of traffic share, up from around 26 in September.

The Libertarian-leaning Congressman's site also attracted nearly 40 percent of site traffic among Republican candidates back in July, when October's second ranked candidate site, MikeHuckabee.com, was in fifth place with just 8 percent share. Between September and October, Huckabee, a potential Iowa caucus dark horse, gained nearly 10 points, moving from third to second place with more than 20 percent traffic share.

Rudy Giuliani rose a couple points and two notches since September to fourth place. Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain both fell. Romney slipped from 4th to 5th place, and McCain moved from 5th to 6th; both also dipped slightly in traffic share. Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo brought up the rear at less than 5 percent.

The GOP candidates may have benefited slightly from the mid-October dropout of Sam Brownback, though his site garnered less than 2 percent of traffic share in September.

Perhaps not surprising to political observers, right-wing Congressman Paul's Web site attracted more males and older visitors than Clinton's younger, female-heavy site audience, according to Hitwise. Around 27 percent of RonPaul.com visitors were 18 to 34, about 36 percent were between 35 and 54, and approximately 37 percent were age 55 and over in October. Seventy-three percent were male.

Clinton's site audience was comprised of 60 percent females last month. About 36 percent were 18 to 34, 35 percent were 35 to 54, and almost 29 percent were 55 and over.

Paul, who made headlines for raising over $4 million online in one day earlier this month, has built a loyal Web following. In October, the candidate attracted more than double the percentage of returning visitors Clinton did (53 percent compared with 24 percent).

About a quarter of both candidates' site traffic came through Google last month, while Yahoo drove about 6 percent for both. HillaryClinton.com also received traffic from MSN Search and MSNBC.com. Some visitors came to Paul's site through his official campaign store domain, as well as the news and commentary site of Lew Rockwell, VP of California's Center for Libertarian Studies.

Democratic Candidates' Site Traffic
Market Share and Rankings
October Market Share Ranking Campaign Web site Traffic Market Share
1 Hillary Clinton For President www.hillaryclinton.com 33.46%
2 Barack Obama www.barackobama.com 32.45%
3 John Edwards For President www.johnedwards.com 12.73%
4 Joe Biden for President www.joebiden.com 5.95%
5 Dennis Kucinich 2008 www.kucinich.us 5.10%
6 Bill Richardson for President Exploratory Committee www.richardsonforpresident.com 4.67%
7 Chris Dodd for President www.chrisdodd.com 3.31%
8 Gravel 2008 www.gravel2008.us 2.32%
Source: Hitwise, 2007

Top Sites Driving Traffic
to www.HillaryClinton.com in October 2007
Web site URL Upstream Share
Google www.google.com 23.95%
Yahoo! Search search.yahoo.com 6.05%
MSN Search search.msn.com 2.48%
MSNBC www.msnbc.msn.com 1.56%
CNN.com www.cnn.com 1.53%
Source: Hitwise, 2007

Republican Candidates' Site Traffic
Market Share and Rankings for October
October Market Share Ranking Campaign Web site Market Share
1 Ron Paul 2008 www.ronpaul2008.com 39.04%
2 Mike Huckabee www.mikehuckabee.com 20.37%
3 Fred '08 www.fred08.com 12.43%
4 Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee www.joinrudy2008.com 8.59%
5 Mitt Romney www.mittromney.com 7.83%
6 John McCain 2008 www.johnmccain.com 5.05%
7 Duncan Hunter for President www.gohunter08.com 4.57%
8 Tom Tancredo for President www.teamtancredo.org 2.13%
Source: Hitwise, 2007

Top Sites Driving Traffic
to www.RonPaul2008.com in October 2007
Web site URL Upstream Share
Google www.google.com 26.67%
Yahoo! Search search.yahoo.com 5.02%
Yahoo www.yahoo.com 1.71%
Ron Paul 2008 Merchandise Store www.ronpaul2008store.com 1.50%
LewRockwell.com www.lewrockwell.com 1.39%
Source: Hitwise, 2007

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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