Could MySpace Make or Break the 2008 Presidential Race?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve read and heard about how Florida wants to move its primary earlier – so the primary has some relevance to the nomination process in both parties. The first fund-raising quarter ended, and pundits have analyzed this first part of the “money” primary.

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Now comes something that could really throw a wrench into things: The MySpace Primary.

Yes, Myspace has announced that it will hold an on-line primary for its members on January 1st and 2nd next year.

Online Media Daily has some interesting facts about MySpace:

How well does MySpace represent the overall U.S. adult population? Well, while MySpace’s registration system is far from fail-safe, comScore Media Metrics reports the site has some 65 million monthly U.S. visitors, 85% of whom are of voting age.

It’s also important for political consultants to note that MySpace users 18-and-up exhibit a high level of efficacy and are three times more likely to interact online with a public official or candidate, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

In addition, MySpace users are 42% more likely to watch politically related online video, 35% more likely to research politics online, and 44% more likely to listen to political audio online.

But this will have a significant impact well outside of cyberspace. How many of us remember in June of 2003, when a little known governor from Vermont won the MoveOn.org online Democratic primary? (Finishing second didn’t help Dennis Kucinich, however.)

Now granted, the MoveOn Primary also had a carrot – an official endorsement. MySpace won’t do that.

But it will generate a heck of a lot of buzz two weeks before the Iowa Caucuses.

A lot of buzz.

The MoveOn vote was enough to propel Howard Dean to front-runner status, before his campaign imploded. A MySpace win can do the same.

You see, major media sources will talk about the primary for days afterward. Bloggers on the right and left will discuss the ramifications. The campaigns will spin the results to best suit them.

Jeff Jarvis wrote about this, saying “candidates will now need to spend some effort and, yes, money there to make sure that Obama doesn’t walk away with the virtual election and the subsequent rush of publicity (just watch: the winner on MySpace will end up being announced on network news shows…)

Finally, here are the current MySpace Friends numbers for the candidates, courtesy of techPresident:

Democrats

  • Obama – 92,274
  • Clinton - 33,370
  • Edwards – 17,386
  • Kucinich – 2,697
  • Richardson – 2,151
  • Biden – 1,472
  • Vilsack – 1,317
  • Dodd – 620
  • Gravel – 2

Republicans

  • Paul – 5,187
  • Romney – 4,253
  • McCain – 3,850
  • Giuliani – 1,688
  • Tancredo – 1,262
  • Hunter – 941
  • Huckabee – 801
  • Brownback – 285

Obama has more Friends than all of the other candidates combined. It will be interesting to see how these numbers look come December 31st.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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4 Responses to Could MySpace Make or Break the 2008 Presidential Race?

  1. tommyduncn says:

    What an interesting development. Could make all the primaries moot, regardless of when they are held… Jarvis makes good points too.

  2. Joel says:

    A friend of mine saw Obama in Austin about a month ago – she said it was like the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. As hard as candidates try to tap the lethargic youth vote, nothing is going to work unless people just naturally take to a candidate (or maybe if Obama can play the saxophone).

    I know MySpace isn’t necessarily limited to young people, but it’s predominant. I would take the internet buzz as a good sign. I’m sure people will argue that Dean’s buzz didn’t carry through, but I’m not sure many people thought Dean was electable even when he was at his peak. And I don’t see Obama doing any type of squealing at a campaign rally.

  3. Tov Chaver says:

    Ron Paul actually has over 100,000 friends on MySpace, not sure where you got your numbers

  4. Jim Johnson says:

    Well, the numbers were accurate in April of 2007.

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