The Internet has become increasingly involved in political campaigns over the course of the past decade; new research shows that Barack Obama has been more successful than any of his Republican challengers at harnessing online campaign power.
According to Nielson Media Research, Obama’s re-election website had 4.2 million unique monthly visitors over age 18 in January compared to a combined 2.9 million visitors to the campaign sites of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum during the same month.
- Ron Paul’s site had 830,000 visitors.
- Mitt Romney’s site had 773,000 visitors.
- Rick Santorum’s site had 696,000 visitors.
- Newt Gingrich’s site had 609,000 visitors.
Women made up more than 60 percent of all traffic to Santorum’s site, the largest gender split of any candidate. Only Paul and Gingrich drew more men than women with 56 percent and 51 percent respectively.
The research indicates that Paul drew the most visitors in the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic with 36.8 percent of his visitors falling into the category. Obama, for whom young voters were a key constituency in 2008, was visited mostly by people between the ages of 50 and 64 — only 17.1 percent were 18 to 34.
The information comes after a recent POLITICO report that describes how the Obama campaign has invested millions of dollars in sophisticated Internet messaging, marketing and fundraising efforts that rely on personal data about voters collected on the Internet that is sometimes offered up voluntarily — like posts on a Facebook page — but sometimes not.