Election ’06: More Libs Online, Less Scandal Influence

Voting_Booth-2.gif I can’t say this comes as a surprise. An Associated Press/AOL News poll shows 43 percent of likely voters are going online to get info on the election, with liberals more likely than moderates or conservatives to do so. The fact is, local newspapers can be painfully inadequate at covering local and congressional races (the most I get is one story a day on Jersey’s brutal Senate race). And TV news is more focused on the slug-fest than the issues, so it makes sense people are relying on the Web for real information on candidates.

Some numbers from the poll:
– 35 percent of Americans are using the Web for election info.
– 51 percent of liberals, 42 percent of moderates and 39 percent of conservatives are likely to go online for election stuff.
– 49 percent of men and 38 percent of women do it.
– 59 percent of those under age 35, 39 percent over 35 and 18 percent over 65 do the election thing online.
– 24 percent of these folks have visited a blog.
– 10 percent of them have accessed a message board, chat room or blog to add their two cents.

Some interesting issue-related stuff here that I’m sure will have political consultants scratching their heads:
– 46 percent of these folks are likely to trust Republicans with handling taxes, while just 38 percent of those who don’t use the Web for election info trust the GOP on taxes.
– 34 percent of online election info gatherers say corruption and scandal in Congress will influence their vote, compared to nearly half (48 percent) who don’t use the Web for election info.

These last points are really intriguing. I wonder if Republicans are doing a better job of getting their tax message out online than Dems are. Perhaps they simply have more opportunities online to do so compared to radio, TV and print. Maybe people using the Web to prepare for the elections are searching on tax related info and finding stuff that speaks positively for Republicans. Who knows?

I’m kind of wowed by the next point about scandal influencing voting decisions. I suppose the fact that traditional media outlets, particularly TV news, have spent more time hyping the Foley scandal in comparison to the wide array of resources online where multiple topics are discussed (yes, some of them being corruption related), might be a factor.

Still, despite the fact that there is lots of room for great resources online providing trustworthy information on candidates and issues, there’s also lots of room for spin, nastiness, propaganda and downright lies. See my recent piece on negative candidate Web sites for one of many examples of this.

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