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Daily Digest: Somewhere in the Wings, a Fat Lady's Warming Up

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, November 4 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Online Buzz vs. the Ballot Box: We'll have to view the game tape to see who, in the end, actually turned out to vote this election. But as of noon ET today, more than 2 million people in the coveted Facebook demographic say they've cast a ballot already. Just before the Iowa caucuses (boy, does that seem like ancient history), advisors to Hillary Clinton famously slammed Barack Obama supporters by saying they "looked like Facebook," as opposed to real voters. That characterization, though, might sound just fine to the Obama campaign today. Meanwhile, Presidential Watch '08 is using online buzz share to predict the winner of today's big race. It might seem like a stretch, but they say they used a similarly technique to predict the first-round results of the closely-contested French presidential election to within one percentage point. So for what it's worth, they have Obama over McCain 55% to 45%. #

The Candidates on the Web

  • Battle of the GOTV Emails: In what is, sadly, the final side-by-side comparison of the two presidential candidate's emails, McCain might be able to claim victory over Obama. McCain supporters received an email earlier this morning contained voting instructions and driving directions to their polling places, similar to what you see here. Obama partisans in battleground states found in their inbox emails containing the complete names, home addresses, and phone numbers of neighbors who vote in their polling place. The email, from the account of Michelle Obama, read: "the easiest way you can make sure Barack gets more votes in your crucial battleground state is to bring these voters with you." It's an ambitious final get-out-the-vote push, of course, but it's hard not to see it as a bit invasive. (Thanks Brett Schenker) #

  • Organic Outreach or Astroturf?: An article by Renee Feltz on the Columbia Journalism Review's site makes some controversial assertions about the McCain campaign's online outreach. The premise is that while the Obama campaign has tried to engage the progressive blogosphere on its own terms, Camp McCain "takes a top-down approach, using blogs -- many of which it helped incubate -- as an echo chamber for channeling mostly anti-Obama attacks into the mainstream media, in order to create an impression of grassroots online support." Given as evidence is some link mapping research conducted that shows pro-McCain blogs siloed from the rest of the Internet. The pushback is conservative attempts to grow a new batch of right-leaning bloggers isn't "astroturf," it's organic, grassroots politics. #

TechCongress and Beyond

  • The Time Has Come to #votereport: Twitter Vote Report was launched on techPresident about a month ago, and in that time it has has grown from just another project to something of a labor of love for the team here. Today is the day to see if and how this wacky experiment in open organizing and crowd-sourced democracy actually works. So join us over on, vist NPR's #votereport mini-site, or watch how Current TV to see how the channel is making us of our reports all day long. And please, by all means, tweet your vote. #

In Case You Missed It...

We'll be liveblogging election night, beginning at 4pm ET. Join us over on, where the liveblog will be front and center.

We have two complementary pieces exploring what happens to the network Obama has built after today, the first of which is by David Lazer, director of Harvard's Program on Networked Governance and the second of which by our Micah Sifry.

Micah also profiles what he's calling the "Obama bandwagon effect" on Facebook. Micah: "In the last two weeks, Barack Obama has gained nearly 400,000 new friends on Facebook, a 20% increase in that short period of time. Wow. I guess the surge is working." Rim shot!

And finally, no matter your politics, we hope you're having a great election day. Here's to democracy!