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Guest Post: The Online Primary

Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas sent in the following dispatch on e-politics:

Never mind the Iowa caucuses next Jan. 14. And forget about the New Hampshire primary, scheduled for Jan. 21.

The social-networking Web site MySpace, never wanting to be upstaged, says it will hold its own primary "election" on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2.

Why two days?

"Well, MySpace users are busy people," explained MySpace spokesperson Dani Dudeck. "We want to give them enough time to vote."

If it happens as planned, the MySpace vote could dwarf the real primaries in terms of the number of votes cast. According to comScore Media Metrics, MySpace has 65 million monthly unique users, 85 percent of whom are age 18 and over.

Nielsen Net Ratings says MySpace users of voting age are three times more likely to interact online with politicians. And, get this: They're also 42 percent more likely to watch politically oriented online video and 35 percent more likely to use the Internet to research candidates.

The MySpace primary is the latest in a string of election-oriented features on must-go-to social networking sites, or "socnets." On YouTube, there's You Choose '08, a clearinghouse of official candidate videos -- and, no, you won't find the infamous Hillary Clinton as Big Sister mash-up on that page. Over at Yahoo!, voters can join Yahoo! Groups (Clark08, a group in support of a second presidential run for retired Gen. Wesley Clark, boasts 654 members) and post questions in Yahoo! Answers ("Will you vote for a Mormom?" asked a user at 5:13 p.m. EST).

Last month, MySpace launched the Impact Channel, a central hub of election information. In a few weeks, it will conduct regular issue-based straw polls, with specific topics decided by users themselves -- the Iraq war, universal health care, illegal immigration, you name it.

Virtually all the presidential hopefuls have MySpace profiles -- even Tommy Thompson, who officially announced his bid today. And they're all busy "friending" supporters. TechPresident, the must-read group blog about online political campaigning, is keeping a tally of the most befriended MySpacers.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who raised $6.9 million online in the first quarter, is so far the undisputed MySpace king. Obama has about 91,000 "friends," more than Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton (33,000) and John Edwards (17,000) combined.

"If this online primary was held today on MySpace," said Andrew Rasiej, co-founder of TechPresident, "Obama would win."

Let's see if that holds up on Jan. 1 and 2.

-- Jose Antonio Vargas

By Editors  |  April 4, 2007; 6:36 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Updating the $ Report Card: Obama Wows With $25M
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niibacco pizdetc

Posted by: | April 20, 2007 1:21 AM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | April 9, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

OK Blarg, I was exaggerating. Slashdot users definitely have less life... (but do they vote more reliably? perhaps...)

Poster "S" at the top of this page was excoriating her/his college peers who use MySpace for being overwhelmingly stupid and vacuous. Wonder if s/he has a MySpace page himself/herself.

Posted by: Golgi | April 5, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Come on, Golgi. MySpace users don't have any life outside of the Internet? Social networking sites are hugely popular these days. Not everyone who uses them is a slacker with no life. I'm sure the average MySpace user has more of a "life" than the average user of a more specialized online community like Slashdot.

Posted by: Blarg | April 5, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and the two days thing is so that the first day can match the New Year just for the coolness aspect of that, and the second day is in case you were too hung over or didn't have internet access on New Year's Day. I don't see anything wrong with that...

This is really cool!

Posted by: Golgi | April 5, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Right guys, typical MySpace users are nonvoting slackers, no quarrel there.

But the whole point of this thing is that in the publicity leading up to the MySpace vote, the nonvoting slackers will all get these links about how to register to vote online.

Info will get sent to them that will be so easy, you'd have to be a moron not to figure out how to register. MySpace users aren't morons, they're just slackers who have no life outside the Internet. So if they can register online, they will.

And then, after the MySpace vote, they will get emailed reminders to vote for real. Being all juiced up with their experience in the mock vote, they will actually go really vote.

The point is that the MySpace publicity will turn nonvoters into voters. That could be huge.

Posted by: Golgi | April 5, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

they cant even manage to vote ONLINE in one day, and we expect them to vote in real life? let alone actually volunteer for a campaign?

please. what a joke.

Posted by: will c | April 5, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh hey -- I know, how about a Drudge primary -- so all the drudgers can vote for Tom Tancredo.

I wouldn't give too much credence to any site that attracts mostly people who want to talk about how hot they are... I don't think you really are going to get much of anything, except a laugh.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Obama's networkers "friendlied up" to everyone who they or their people invited, while the Edwards staff was not networking MySpace nearly as professionally on it as an actual project.

SO to consider MySpace any kind of indicator is stretching it a bit. And if you took some time to look, you might find that many of both Edwards' and Obama's supporters have BOTH of them listed in their "friends" groups, some even have Hillary, too.

MySpace is a great tool, but it is not very efficient at finding out what the street-level sentiments really are. And considering the MSM is just licking their greedy chops at the thought of a billion dollar campaign, I would bet Chris's pals at politico keep napkins handy every time a new $ count comes out.

Posted by: JEP | April 5, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"Because it just isn't nasty enough yet."

Posted by: Solid | April 5, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse


Candidates attempt to reach voters through online social networking sites. Newsbreak of the decade! Stay tuned for updates live from the scene.

give me a break.

Posted by: Jeff | April 5, 2007 2:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Howard Dean would have won the YouTube Primary 4 years ago... In the real world, Hillary is huddling with Bill and advisors to stop her slide in Iowa and New Hampshire on

Posted by: William | April 4, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

What a joke. Chris, this is hardly news worthy of mentioning.

Posted by: reason | April 4, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

He also has 320,000 people in a group called "Barack Obama: One Million Strong for Barack" on Facebook. That dwarfs any other groups...

Posted by: Sam | April 4, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind that, 1), Myspace is owned by Rupert Murdock, and 2) is populated overwhelmingly by stupid youths. I am able to say #2 because I am a college student myself, and know just how vacuous my peers can be. They are more likely to vote based entirely on name recognition alone than your average voter, which is saying a lot. I would not trust these "primaries" to be indicative of anything that public trends have not already shown.

Posted by: S | April 4, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

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