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Daily Digest: Online Money Chase in Hyperdrive

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, February 7 2008

The Web on the Candidates

* As it becomes more likely that the Democratic nomination will be decided by the so-called superdelegates, the folks at Politicalbase are building out a detailed list on their wiki, and their tech team is building a tool that will allow anyone to send an email to all 796 of them, Mark Nickolas, their managing editor, told techPresident. He added, "Of course, getting good e-mails for all 796 is one of our top goals right now, as well."

* Declan McCullagh reports that in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by 54.8% to 39.3% of the vote, nearly double her statewide margin. Writing on CNet, he argues that for all of Obama's online popularity and tech-savvy positions, "traditional politicking and on-the-ground organization still count for more, and that's one area where the Clinton machine excels." That may well be, but McCullagh unfortunately doesn't offer any evidence that in Santa Clara County, Clinton had a better on-the-ground machine than Obama--so until someone does some actual reporting there on the vote, we're left with an interesting mystery. In the comment threads on his post, several people point out that the county is actually 35% Hispanic--a group that went strongly for Clinton statewide.

* More evidence that the kids are alright: Declare Yourself, the national nonpartisan youth voter registration group, says it has already registered more than 300,000 new voters in the 18-29 bracket, putting it well on the way to its goal of 2 million new registrants by next November. Marc Morgenstern, the group's executive director, says that Declare Yourself received a flood of youth voter registrations through its on-line form in late January and early February, as young people sought to meet state registration deadlines to vote in the Super Tuesday primaries. “The Internet and social networking have made it much easier for young people to navigate the confusing registration process and participate,” said Morgenstern. “Use of technology has paid off in these record voting numbers.”

* Youth turnout was up significantly on Super Tuesday, says CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Based on exit polls and compared to 2000 levels, it rose from 13% to 17% in California; from 7% to 12% in Connecticut, it doubled in Massachusetts, and it tripled in Georgia and Missouri. Turnout levels among people under the age of 30 still lag behind their elders, but the youth share of the vote is definitely rising.

* Getting deep into the weeds, here, but if you're a graphic designer or just interested in how to visualize all the political data coming out of all these primaries, check out this post by software developer Alex Vollmer critiquing the "Super Tuesday Infographics" of the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, CNN, USA Today and MSNBC. His goal is info-at-a-glance, and the overall winner is the Times...with MSNBC doing worst. Wired's Gadget Lab blog also gives the rundown on who was using what technology on the TV networks Tuesday night. What's the deal with Fox News and Apple?

The Candidates on the Web

* In the last twelve hours, the Obama campaign raised another $2.5 million, bringing its post-Super Tuesday haul to a claimed $7.2 million. At about 9:40pm eastern its fundraising widget claimed a total of $4.67 million raised...an hour later it claimed $5.64 million, and at 10am this morning it's at $7.22 million. Wow. Ben Smith reports that a Clinton aide claims their online fundraising is also blowing up, with more than $4 million raised since the polls closed on Tuesday at 35,000 new donors.

* Meanwhile, Republican consultant and valued techPresident contributor Patrick Ruffini's idea to organize a cross-Republican money-bomb for today, February 7, isn't going so well. A glance at the current tally shows $225 raised from 3 donors as of 10am eastern. Not exactly a blogswarm happening around the idea, either, with just 43 links currently on Technorati. Ouch!

* "Barack Obama is bigger on MySpace than U2," Jeff Berman, MySpace's senior VP of public affairs, told the Dallas News. (Hat tip to our e-politcs pal Colin Delany.)

* Former Dodd internet guru Tim Tagaris, blogging on OpenLeft, notices that Hillary Clinton is mentioning her campaign website url a lot more lately. Tagaris notes astutely, "As an internet director, there is one reason candidates drop the URL on television, and it's not because they care if people navigate through the tubes to learn more about your positions on the issues. It's money. And sign-ups, which equal money."

* Finally, don't miss my and Andrew Rasiej's latest Politico column, which takes a close look at how voter-generated content like the pro-Obama "Yes We Can" has become a factor in the race, and how the Clinton campaign's latest attempt at viral video, the "Hillary and the Band" spoof, fell flat. Mark Pesce, who is going to be keynoting Personal Democracy Forum this June, has a great column about how viral video has evolved since 2004 in the US, and comparing what we're experiencing to the recent elections in Australia, where several voter-generated videos helped humanize Labor PM candidate Kevin Rudd. He points in particular to Hugh Atkin's "Kevin Rudd - Chinese Propaganda Video" as being absolutely transformative to Rudd's fortunes. Watch it, you'll be amazed.