The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Clickocracy

Who Needs a Sticker? Facebook Users Change Status to 'Voted'

By Jose Antonio Vargas
We are all witnesses now.

Because of online video, because of Twitter, because of Facebook updates and MySpace blogs and blogs in general, voting today becomes a collective virtual experience.

On Facebook's Election 2008 page, users are instructed to click an "I Voted" button to let their Facebook friends know that they made it to the polls. About 10 minutes ago, more than 939,223 people said they had voted. The tally is in real time, and thousands of Facebookers are added in seconds. It's 945,492 now. A few seconds later, it's 963,262. The count grows to 985,866 in less than 10 seconds.

Adam Segal, who lives in Maryland, told The Trail via Facebook chat: "I wonder what impact it has on people wavering on whether to vote. For people that have large extended networks of friends it could be even more powerful than the traditional "I Voted" sticker. Right now it's going up about 300 to 400 per second, perhaps faster."

Segal said he hasn't voted. He's planning to go this afternoon at his precinct in Silver Spring with his wife, two daughters and baby boy.

"It's nagging at me," he wrote while sitting at work. "I want to push that "I voted" button on Facebook!"

At 10:41 a.m. EST, the count is at 1,055,788.

Posted at 10:44 AM ET on Nov 4, 2008  | Category:  The Clickocracy
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Previous: At the End of an Extraordinary Ride | Next: NJ: Heavy Voting, Scattered Snags

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One Last Audacious Hope-

Pollsters ponder racial bias among U.S. voters - and in their own polls
By Kate Zernike Published: October 12, 2008
International Herald Tribune

Three weeks to Election Day, and polls project a victory, possibly a big one, for Barack Obama.

Yet everywhere, anxious Democrats wring their hands. They have seen this Lucy-and-the-football routine before, and they are just waiting for their ball to be snatched away, the foiled Charlie Browns again. Remember how the exit polls in 2004 predicted President John Kerry?

The anxiety is more acute this year, because Obama is the first African-American major-party presidential nominee. And even pollsters say they cannot be sure how accurately polls capture people's feelings about race, or how forthcoming Americans are in talking about a black candidate.

In recent days, nervous Obama supporters have traded worry about a survey - widely disputed by pollsters yet voraciously consumed by the politically obsessed - that concluded racial bias would cost Obama six percentage points in the final outcome. He is, of course, about six points ahead in current polls. See? He's going to lose.

If he does, it would not be the first time that polls have overstated support for an African-American candidate. Since 1982, people have talked about the Bradley effect, where even last-minute polls predict a wide margin of victory, yet the black candidate goes on to lose, or win in a squeaker. (In the case that lent the phenomenon its name, Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles, lost his race for governor, the assumption being that voters lied to pollsters about their support for an African-American.)

Kohut conducted a study in 1997 looking at differences between people who readily agreed to be polled and those who agreed only after one or more call-backs. Reluctant participants were significantly more likely to have negative attitudes toward blacks - 15 percent said they had a "very favorable" attitude toward them, as opposed to 24 percent of the ready respondents. "The kinds of people suspicious of surveys are also more intolerant," Kohut said.

Posted by: thecannula | November 4, 2008 11:43 AM

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