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Daily Digest: 10/15/07

BY Joshua Levy | Monday, October 15 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • Ron Paul is hoping to raise $12 million by the end of the year, and his site has been tracking his fundraising in real time (he’s raised about $870,000 as of this morning). That’s interesting in itself, as candidates usually only expose this data during short-lived fundraising drives (using various “fun” objects like thermometers, baseball bats, and chili peppers to illustrate their progress). But one supporter has apparently discovered underlying data sources fueling Paul’s homepage graphic to produce some amazing graphs charting the total raised for the quarter, in the last week, and in the last three days; the total number of donors cut up in a number of ways; the average hourly donors; and much, much more. Would access to this data for all of the candidates help or hurt them? It depends on the candidate, I think — imagine charts showing the growing amount of loaned funds donated by Mitt Romney to his own campaign…

  • Many Iowan caucusgoers “are happily encased in an old-media bubble, immune to the digital overtures of the modern presidential campaign,” reports the New York Times’ Julie Bosman. Entrenched media habits among an older electorate seems is one reason for the lack of online activity. And if Joe Trippi admits it, it must be true. “It’s clearly true that blogs and Web sites, and even some of the cool stuff that our team is doing in Iowa, has got less of an impact in Iowa,” he told Bosman. Curiously, New Hampshire — where voters “appear more plugged in” — warrants only a brief mention in the article.

  • The Washington Post’s Jose Antonio Vargas has been a smartly covering the Internet and the 2008 election all year, and now he’s added a video blog to his almost-daily reports. In his first post, he hangs out with Ron Paul supporters (or “Paulites”) in Stafford, New Hampshire, getting their take on why Paul is their man. Some mainstream tech journalists have been slowly getting into the video game — witness David Pogue’s geek-happy videos for the New York Times — but political journalists haven’t really jumped into the ring. Here’s hoping Jose keeps it up.

  • In an unprecedented meta-act of canvassing the canvassers, volunteers working with Off The Bus spread out across nine states over the weekend to cover the Barack Obama campaign’s Canvass for Change events. Instead of one reporter taking the temperature of a single event, OTB was able to utilize the reporting of 18 citizen journalists, synthesizing their reports into a single piece (their individual impressions are here). They report on an abundance of energy from Obama supporters, but fatigue about Iraq and frustration at Obama’s static poll numbers. Now, the big question — will OTB produce similar reports about the other campaigns, Republican and Democratic?

The Candidates on the Web

  • Al Gore says he’s not running, and most pundits agree that he probably won’t, but that hasn’t stopped Draft Gore from amassing over 200,000 signatures on a petition urging him to run. The site, which calls Gore “The Conscience of the Democratic Party,” looks a lot like a campaign site, with familiar buttons linking to action pages, a volunteer sign-up page, merchandise (including a very strange “Collectable Art Poster”), and more. If Gore does jump in, he’d have a pretty established voter-generated campaign waiting for him.

In Case You Missed It…

Zephyr Teachout writes that Al Gore’s use of the web is a model for how to use the internet to transform political discourse and action, regardless of your political beliefs.