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Searching For America’s Next President

And Google says the winner is. . .

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This weekend, as we fire up the grills and the sparklers (and some pyrotechnic contraband, depending on where you live), we also fan the flames of patriotism and of brotherhood, knowing that despite our differences of opinion in politics, the flames in our bellies are unending and conceived in the spirit of the unity of all voices.

That, and the fact that Obama’s going to wipe the floor with McCain this November. Wait, wait, wait. That’s just me, my wishful thinking, my getting your goat. Calm the heck down, I’m only teasing, except for the part where I think Obama will win, as he should.

But enough about that (seriously, I’m just teasing) and on with how our candidates are faring online, and what the searching populace’s collective voice tell us is important to them—Happy Fourth*.

Hitwise says Obama rules the Internet, much like Ron Paul used to. His website, BarackObama.com, received 79.25 percent of visits to presidential websites, leaving McCain with 20.75 percent of the traffic. McCain supporters, there is an upside (don’t get used to upsides, though ;-D) since traffic to Obama’s site has actually decreased since the month before, down from 85 percent between May and June.

McCain visitors increased by nearly the same margin, jumping up from just under 15 percent in May. In June, 45 percent of Obama site visitors were new visitors, compared to 79 percent of McCain’s visitors being new. 

Those could be Hillary defectors, one might suppose. Won’t it be fun for them when Bill has to pucker up to what he once called a fairy tale?

Ahem. I know, on with it. 

Don’t read too much into those numbers. It’s hard to gain any real sense of the digital tide. That same tide once favored Ron Paul, but also David Cook on American Idol, so place your bets. But there’s also this: Obama’s site is probably better SEO’d than McCain’s. Robert Scoble did a little experiment with the keywords "McCain tech policy" and "Obama tech policy." Only news and blog articles about McCain appeared in the top search results, not content from McCain’s website, but BarackObama.com pops its head up at the very top of the results for the other phrase.

McCain’s site shows up at the bottom of page two, the link landing on a page about health care, not technology. You could blame Google for bringing back poor results; I will blame, from here until well after his (hypothetical) election, McCain and his team’s lack of SEO savvy.

So if we can’t glean much from the amount of traffic each candidate gets, what can be gleaned in terms of interests and backgrounds? "Searches show that voters on both sides of the aisle have shared concerns around issues such as health care, global warming and immigration," said Heather Dougherty, research director, Hitwise. "This has implications for what content should be featured on the candidates’ websites, and broadly across all communications with voters."

Wow, actually some solidarity there. Those three issues seem to be on voters’ minds regardless of which side they’re on. Sliced into a dichotomy, just as we like it, searchers concerned most about abortion and education arrived at Obama’s site, while health care and global warming led the charge to McCain’s. These change periodically; gay marriage was tops in the first quarter for Obama, while oil prices make a sudden appearance this past quarter for McCain.

Surprisingly, though, issues and viewpoints aren’t the biggest driver of Obama traffic. Though the issues drive about a third of McCain’s web traffic, 24 percent of the traffic to BarackObama.com arrive there seeking information about Obama in general. Once they discover he’s not really a radical Muslim bent on destroying America, searchers start looking for real issues for comparison, like whether he’s wearing a flag pin or what some guy he probably might know said one time a long time ago.

Aheh-heh-hem. Search terms leading to McCain’s site seem to sweat the more important candidate stuff: issues and campaign information. Rumors and religion don’t make the top five, as they do with Obama.

So who’s digging for all that information? According to another Hitwise chart, Republicans mostly, Independents second. Aside from rural populations, satellite cities, and small towns, which fall squarely into McCain territory, most others, demographically speaking, are split down the middle, which should make for an interesting race.

Happy Independence Day. Vive la revolution!

*I realize if you’re not an American this day is as meaningful as Thanksgiving. I remember spending one July 4th in Japan, lighting off fireworks intended for Tanabata, a children’s festival about the same time, in a gravel lot with a Scottish lass and an Aussie hot-librarian type. They humored me, I think, because they sensed it was important to me, and remained supportive until a lone Japanese teen in black, a fan of the band Slipknot he said, stepped out of the darkness and imposed himself on our little pity-the-lost-American party. He picked up a firework I’d just lit—a real nasty looking one—and sprayed the area as if holding an Uzi, shouting, "I like destroy!" as we ducked for cover. He said he also loved America, so go figure. Point is, it’s just another Friday for you, but for us it’s sacred. Bear with us until we get it out of our system, which is probably never, God bless America.

Searching For America’s Next President


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  • Guest

    now we know who won :)

    http://www.hisdates.com

  • http://car2be.com/ Used bmw x5

    For the uneducated person that said Republicans or those that love the Bible have the mentality of a slug, most republicans I know are far more educated than the democrats working at Starbucks that just listen to people say Obama is the choice and follow along.

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