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Daily Digest: Romney Lost Because He Relied Too Much on the GOP Echo Chamber

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 8 2008

The Web on the Candidates

* Mike Connery of (and a member of the techPresident blogger family) digs into the youth turnout numbers from CIRCLE that I cited here yesterday, and produces two interesting assertions. First, that based on current youth turnout in the primaries, the Democratic advantage among young voters "is huge and growing." He projects the gap will rise from a 54-45% split D-R in 2004 to 65-34% in 2008. He also notes that on the Republican side, Mike Huckabee appears to be winning the largest share of the youth vote.

* danah boyd isn't the only California voter who is wondering whether her vote got counted last Tuesday. There are reports that in LA along, 94,000 independent voters had their ballots rejected because they didn't fill out a necessary bubble on the form. But she's an uber-blogger with a huge audience, and her eloquent and precise description of how the directions on her absentee ballot left her confused as to how to fill it out captures exactly what appears to have gone wrong, yet again, with our voting systems.

* Politico's Ben Smith, one of the best professional blogger/reporters (blorters?) out there, took a moment yesterday to ask his readers for help finding smart state bloggers in the upcoming primary and caucus states. "I'm looking for whoever's got good information — newspaper reporters, intense partisans, interested bystanders," he writes. He shares a couple of good pointers, and there's several more in the comment thread. This is proof of Dan Gillmor's seminal argument to the journalistic profession in the networked age: "My readers know more than I do."

* The Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson profiles John McIntyre and Tom Bevan and their Real Clear Politics site, an essential political content aggregator in this age of too much information. Three million unique visitors in January would appear to agree with that assessment. Who says there isn't a future for web startups in Chicago?

* OpenLeft's Matt Stoller gave a speech at the UConn Law School yesterday entitled "Spam Media Versus Social Media." Guess where he categorizes broadcast TV, radio and mail? Seriously, Stoller's speech offers a framework for rethinking campaign finance regulation in the internet age and is well worth a close reading. Plus it's his birthday today.

* The first bloggers? Andrew Noyes at Tech Daily Dose reports that Sen. Patrick Leahy is calling for the papers of the founding fathers to be put online. A project to annotate and catalogue them has been underway for more than 50 years, but Noyes writes "has been criticized because of slow progress and high costs." Putting them online sounds like a great idea; let's make it easy for the public to annotate and search them.

The Candidates on the Web:

* GOP consultant and techPresident blogger Patrick Ruffini has posted a very interesting analysis of what went wrong for Mitt Romney. Here's the key lines: "The leader/follower model of conservative support (get Rush, the talkers, the CPAC people, all the groups on your side, and in so doing win the hearts and minds of a decisive majority of conservatives) has been proven starkly and decisively wrong....Let’s face it: in this primary, blogs and talk radio were an echo chamber. What was happening in the electorate (identity-minded Christian voters choosing Huck; loosely affiliated conservatives choosing McCain) was unthinkable to Agenda Conservatives."

* Colin Delany did some reporting yesterday, attending the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet's Super Tuesday post-mortem. He talked to Mark McKinnon, one of John McCain's media consultants, asking whether McCain's online-only video ad strategy was intentional or an accident. "He replied that the campaign had had a “robust” multi-channel video strategy at the beginning of the campaign, but that McCain’s implosion over the summer had forced them to focus on the web over TV because it was free." McKinnon also told him the profusion of voter-generated video was making it harder for campaigns to reach skeptical voters with their old-fashioned pitches. We call this a good thing, no?

* The "F7: One Day to Stop Hillary (and Obama)" money-bomb appears to have, um, bombed, with just $2,646 raised from 32 donors. (It's possible that it wasn't a complete bust, since the organizers at put up a sign-up form before pushing people to the donate page.) A similar effort at Slatecard, a competing Republican fundraising hub, did even worse, with just $1,020 raised from 12 people. Arguably, the moment just wasn't ripe for a better result, since there isn't yet a clear Democratic nominee, and Clinton's money problems surfaced in the news just when F7 was trying to get traction. But it seems some grassroots Republicans just aren't in the mood for rallying around their party's flag. For example, there are some telling comments in response to an appeal to support F7 on the Race42008 blog, evidence it appears of Republican unhappiness with John McCain.

In Case You Missed It

Josh Levy reports in from the State of the Net conference in Italy, where the altitude and the food and wine appears to have gone to his head and he claims to be hanging out with my brother David, and he murmurs about something called an "electronic agora." I don't think that's a kind of Italian bath soap, but who knows?

We post our weekly round-up of our favorite political videos, and while "Yes We Can" tops the list, I still can't get the "Ron Paul is a virus" song out of my head.

Two of techPresident's contributors posted reality checks in the last 24 hours: Tom Belford notes that while Obama has been raising tons of money with his emails, that's just about all he's raising. Belford bemoans the lack of issue discussion in Obama's emails and he's got a point. And Morra Aarons questions whether the over-30 voters (like her) are affected by all the shiny new social media that we're all talking about. Another good point.