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Daily Digest: MySpace Says Young People Dig Politics

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, December 13 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • So young people don’t vote, huh? Webware’s Caroline McCarthy reports that monthly political polls of MySpace users, conducted by MySpace, have revealed interesting facts about its user base. According to the polls, “MySpace’s young user base is more politically engaged and active than the U.S. population at large, that they tend to be politically independent, and that they plan to vote in the 2008 election,” McCarthy writes. The users that were polled are also 139 percent more likely than the general population “to have visited an online chat room with public officials or political candidates in the last 30 days.”

  • More fun with tag clouds. Yesterday the Washington Post looked at John McCain in its ongoing series of profiles of the front-runners for president, and produced another tag cloud showing the words most frequently used in respondents’ descriptions of the Arizona Senator. This time around, the big words are “old,” “good,” “p.o.w.,” “veteran,” “honest,” and “republican.” While “old” is certainly a bummer, other words were mentioned about as much. It’s better than the big fat “actor” used to describe Fred Thompson earlier this week.

  • Garrett Graff is busy promoting his new book about how the web is changing politics and is influencing the 2008 election, titled The First Campaign. His tour has taken him to darkest corners of the web, namely, Slashdot. Readers have been posing questions (and fighting with each other) all week. It will be cool to see how this turns out. (via IPDI)

  • From the annals of e-democracy: the Sunlight Foundation’s Punch Clock campaign is trying to get elected officials to make their schedules public. Now, thanks to the glory of Google Maps, their meetings are mappable using the Punch Clock Map. Congressional Quarterly has produced a search engine that makes it easy to find earmarks by bill, by the Member of Congress who sponsored them, and by state. And a new site, USASpending.gov, shows a summary of federal spending to make it easier to track where taxpayer money is going. The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Williamson has more about the site, which is a curious partnership between the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and a watchdog group, OMB Watch. (techPresident’s Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej are advisors to the Sunlight Foundation.)

  • The first National Presidential Caucus (an unofficial, alternative nation-wide caucus) was held last Friday, and the results are in: Barack Obama was the winner for the Democrats, winning 40% of the vote, and — shock! — Ron Paul won for the Republicans, with 50% of the votes. Still no word on how many participants there were, though.

  • Surprising news: the National Journal’s Technology Daily, which has been covering the politics and technology beat for nine years, will cease publication next month. Wrote editor Danny Glover in a note to its Facebook group, “The company’s commitment to covering tech policy and politics remains as strong as ever, however, and we hope you will continue to look to National Journal for the hottest news and sharpest insights in that arena.”

  • In their new Politico column, techPresident’s Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry look at how well the Republicans understand the potential of the internet. It takes off of Micah’s roundup of the Republican’s tech policies and offers an equally gloomy picture of candidates who are failing to understand how much our country’s future depends on robust and widespread access to an open Internet.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Bill Richardson — who says he has the only plan to get all of the troops out of Iraq immediately — has launched a new website attacking Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards for their stances on the Iraq war. The site, 2013istoolate.com (sounds like a new isotope), claims that his opponents’ plans won’t get troops out until 2013. It features a nasty calculator showing the deaths, casualties, and dollars that will accrue if we stay for six more years. It also asks for a donation of $20.13 to his campaign. They’re gonna need more than that to stay in this thing.

In Case You Missed It…

Clinton sock puppetry exposed! We had thought the ability to find and expose campaign IP addresses had put a stop to sock puppetry, but boy were we wrong.

Do Iowa and New Hampshire hold so much power that the world wide web is just dwarfed in comparison? To Morra Aarons it seems that way.

John Edwards has added his responses to the top ten videos on 10Questions! Go there now to see him respond to questions about Net neutrality, warrantless wiretapping, America as a theocracy, the two-party system, and more, and to vote on whether he actually answered the questions.

Hillary Clinton’s online operation is adapting the traditional tactics of polling and direct mail to survey subscribers of the campaign’s email list, reports Michael Whitney.

Michael also discovers that Barack Obama’s student organizing in New Hampshire is hitched to Facebook founder and Obama staffer Chris Hughes, who all day yesterday drove students to vote absentee in the Granite State’s Jan. 8 primary. The event was organized through Facebook, of course.