January FaceTime: Will McCain be the GOP's McGovern?

While the dust has yet to settle entirely in the primary contests, an aura of inevitability is increasingly surrounding Barack Obama. This glow extends beyond the nomination battle with Hillary Clinton, against whom Obama has won 10 straight contests, and could prove extremely difficult for the GOP’s presumptive nominee, John McCain, to overcome.

Across several web metrics, summarized below, Obama leads McCain by no less than a 3 to 1 margin. In terms of online FaceTime with voters, the margin was 6 to 1 in favor of Obama last month. Beyond his fundraising prowess, speaking skills, and likeability, Obama’s online dominance is truly what separates him from both Clinton and McCain and may well be a deciding factor in an Obama walk-off this November.

The barrage of early primary contests in January leading up to Super Tuesday accompanied by near dawn to dusk media attention and heavy ad spending by the candidates led to huge increases in the candidates’ FaceTime with voters in January. During the month, voters spent a total of 77% more time online with the candidates than in December, with certain candidates benefiting more than others.

The table below shows each candidate’s FaceTime in January and their share of their party’s FaceTime. Following the table are charts comparing monthly FaceTime share by candidate during the past year.

January Highlights:

  • With reality helping to winnow the field, Obama scored the most FaceTime with voters, grabbing a commanding 60% of all his party’s FaceTime in January, or nearly triple Clinton’s attention. Obama’s Iowa victory speech was the most watched candidate video on YouTube in January and to date has been viewed over 1 million times.
  • Across the aisle, McCain’s FaceTime grew the most of any GOP candidate; however, he continued to trail rivals Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in earning time with voters. While his nomination is all but certain, McCain’s continued struggle to win over, let alone rally conservative Republicans signals trouble on the horizon for his campaign and prospects in the general election. McCain is likely to enter the race with only tepid enthusiasm among the GOP base while holding the party banner of an unpopular president; squaring off against a candidate whose youth, rhetorical gifts, financial backing and online support alone could prove insurmountable, let alone the fact that Democrats appear determined to retake the White House and in Obama appear to have found a candidate they can rally behind.

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About Matt Pace:
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.

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