The Online Political Influence

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Social networking, blog and political party Web sites have less sway over voter’s opinion than recent buzz would suggest. Seventy-two percent of voters said that the mainstream media such as newspapers and magazines are their main source for political information, according to a survey by Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm.

More than 56 percent of respondents said that they trust traditional media more than any other source when seeking political knowledge.

"There’s been tremendous publicity surrounding how many ‘friends’ candidates have on MySpace, the ‘Obama Girl’ video on YouTube and Bill and Hillary’s Soprano’s spoof," said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research for Nucleus Research.

"While these stories are entertaining, the fact of the matter is that people trust and rely upon what they learn from mainstream media more than five times as much as the information they access on the Internet."

The survey also revealed that 18 percent of respondents receive their information from alternative news programs, such as the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

"Candidates have rushed to create an ‘Internet persona’ to keep pace with our tech-savvy society, but at a significant cost," said Jeff Ramminger, executive vice president, KnowledgeStorm.

"When it comes to believability, Nucleus’ research has found that mainstream media still holds the most weight. The results of the Nucleus survey prove that what is perceived as most edited and vetted remains the most trusted."

The survey also found that just 51 percent of people feel as if they have a clear understanding of what the candidates stand for. Voters are interested in learning more about candidates, but do not have the time to research on sponsored Web sites, or less traditional media outlets such as blogs.

"The bottom-line question is: are Barack Obama’s 97,954 Facebook ‘friends’ going to help him secure the swing vote and defeat Hillary Clinton? We believe absolutely not," added Cheryl Gutowski, analyst at Nucleus Research.



The Online Political Influence
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