According to the Associated Press, “More adults visited President Obama’s campaign website in January than the four Republican hopefuls combined.” Politico observed that while part of that is due to Obama’s high visibility as the incumbent president, Obama also has two websites – the White House site and the campaign site, meaning that half of his traffic is still more than the combined traffic for all the Republicans.
What does this mean in practical terms? We know that Obama raised about $500 million online in the last election cycle. He had over a million people on his text-messaging program. He had over 2 million profiles on his website. He had 5 million supporters on other websites. Julius Genachowski, who ended up running the FCC, put together the online effort. John McCain, by contrast, trailed dramatically in terms of Facebook and MySpace support; he also got destroyed in terms of fundraising.
The Obama campaign is sophisticated and fast-moving, while the Republican campaigns are slower and more unwieldy – a shocking fact, since conservatives like Matt Drudge and Andrew Breitbart have led the way in internet news development. The only Republican with any online fundraising savvy, oddly enough, is Ron Paul, whose supporters routinely flood the zone whenever called upon to do so. What’s the lesson? Republicans had better catch on, and quickly. If they don’t, it’s going to be a long election cycle for them.