Obama Site Visitors Up 27 Percent, Clinton Down 34

Fred Stutzman notes that Comscore has reported a dramatic change in the traffic seen at the Web sites of the two leading contenders for 2008 Democratic nomination:

  • HillaryClinton.com’s audience of unique visitors dropped from 313,000 in January to 206,000 in February, a 34 percent drop.
  • BarackObama.com’s audience of unique visitors grew from 297,000 in January to 376,000 in February, a 27 percent uptick.

Stutzman attibutes this to site design:

By embracing voter-generated content, Barack Obama has given supporters a reason to keep coming back to his site. The dropoff by HillaryClinton.com is telling – there was an initial groundswell of support, but without voter-generated content, what incentives do visitors have to keep coming back to the campaign property? No, they’re out on Youtube or Facebook supporting Clinton in their native places. Clearly, the voter-generated presence delivers stickiness, and a freshness of content that brings new visitors to the site.

While that’s interesting, it may not matter in terms of the truly important metrics for presidential candidates: Fundraising and votes.

While Obama’s site has now surged ahead of Clinton’s in visitors, the demographics are in Clinton’s favor. Stuzman notes that, “33 percent of Obama’s visitors are under 35, with 57.1 percent of Clinton’s visitors between 35 and 54. Accordingly, the visitors of Clinton’s site have higher incomes than that of Obama’s.” More importantly, though, 17 percent of Obama’s visitors are 18-24, compared with only 2 percent of Clinton’s. As the report points out,

“Historically, few political campaigns have focused on reaching out to 18-24 year olds because they are a notoriously unreliable voting bloc,” said Andrew Lipsman, senior analyst at comScore. “Indeed, our data show that 18-24 year olds are 20 percent less likely than average to visit political Web sites. Thus, it is particularly noteworthy that BarackObama.com is attracting such heavy interest among 18-24 year olds, because it speaks to Senator Obama’s ability to mobilize younger voters and offers an early indication that they may play a more significant role than usual in the 2008 elections.”

Now, Obama raised slightly more money than Clinton in the first reporting cycle. To the extent that’s attributable to his online effort, it’s important. Otherwise, though, it’s not yet apparent to me what website and Facebook buzz brings to someone running for president.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Archives December 2006 August 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 [IMG Outside The Beltway | OTB] Peter Yarrow Sleepwalks into Tony Kornheiser’s House Obama Site Visitors Up 27 Percent, Clinton Down 34 Why Lefty Bloggers Are Owed a Living Captured British Marines ‘Gathered Intelligence’ on Iran Impeach Bush Chorus Growing Among Democratic Base Caption Contest Winners Beltway Traffic Jam Branding The Candidates

  2. There will be a lot of new media (blogs, facebook, etc) learning going on in the next few campaigns. Using the internet to get donations seems to be one that the politicians have grasped. Maybe facebook is how college age kids will be turned into a reliable voting block. My gut says no, but the rules are changing in a way similar to pamphletering.

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    Sen. Barack Obama raised at least $25 million for his presidential campaign in the first quarter of…

  4. Tano says:

    ““33 percent of Obama’s visitors are under 35, with 57.1 percent of Clinton’s visitors between 35 and 54”

    i just hate it when people toss in random statistics that actually just muddy the picture.

    What do we get from these? Apparently 67% of Obama’s visitors are over 35. 57% of Clinton’s are between 35-54. How does one compare these then? How does this lend support to the notion that Obama’s visitors are heavyily skewed young? What does it all mean?

  5. Tano,

    When confused, it is sometimes helpful to click on the link for the original data set.

    How about this to show Obama’s visitors are skewed to the younger and less affluent.

    Age Hillary Obama (%/cumulative %)
    18-24 2.6/ 2.6 17.0/17.0
    25-34 16.7/19.3 16.2/33.2
    35-44 25.4/44/7 28.5/61.7
    45-54 31.7/76.4 22.4/84.1
    55-64 18.8/95.2 10.7/94.8
    65+ 4.9/100 5.2/100

    Income Hillary Obama (%/cumulative %)

  6. Tano says:

    YAJ,

    I dont want to search for no stinkin’ data – I want to whine about poorly constructed sentences.
    🙂