With roughly 60 days until the first votes are cast in the 2008 presidential election, the remaining Democratic and GOP candidates are crisscrossing the country in search of support, while concentrating their organizational and financial resources on a handful of early contest states.
The map and table below compare interest in the election across the lower 48 states (sorry Hawaii and Alaska) as gauged by the percentage of people in each state who visited either a candidate’s website or a top political blog during the month.
- The early contest states of New Hampshire and Iowa stand out for being the most politically engaged at this stage in the election. This comes as no surprise given the historical significance of these states in determining winners, not to mention the millions being spent by the candidates in New Hampshire and Iowa to curry favor with voters. Nevada, South Carolina and Michigan, also holding their primaries in January, are also among the most politically active states.
- The home states of several leading candidates also show above average political engagement. Note, for example, Arizona (McCain), Illinois (Obama), Michigan (Romney) and Tennessee (Thompson).
- Although Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Wall Street are popular destinations for candidates seeking to fill their campaign war chests, California and New York residents, in general, have yet tune in to this election. Once campaign funds start flowing back into these states in the form of advertising during the general election, this will surely change.
- Idaho’s ranking appears to have been influenced by the scandal involving U.S. Senator Larry Craig, who represents the state, as residents turned to the political blogs for information and discussion on the subject. Political interest in Idaho doubled between July and September.
As VP of Millward Brown Digital’s financial services, retail and consumer products practices, Matt is responsible for vertical growth and strategy and the delivery of digital insights and best practice marketing consulting to leading Fortune 500 advertisers. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattpace.