Electoral Tea-Leaf Reading: Which States are Leading Online?

As Senators Barack Obama and John McCain crisscross the country in search of votes, clog the airwaves with advertisements, and tighten their seemingly iron grip in the popular media and blogosphere, it’s no surprise that Americans are paying increasing attention to the race. Compete’s latest data on traffic trends to the candidate’s websites shows Obama maintaining his 2 to 1 advantage online.

Of course for all that’s made of national election data and polls, in the end, the race will be decided in the trenches at the state level. In reality, only a dozen or so "battleground" states hold the keys to the White House next month.

A state-by-state look at the online activities of Americans across the country suggests that voters in certain pockets of the country are following the race more closely that people elsewhere, which could portend lower voter turnout in some key contests. The map and table below compare interest in the election as gauged by the percentage of each state’s residents who visited a candidate’s website or top political blog in September. For comparison, look at a similar post we did last year.


Observations:

  • More than residents of any other state, Coloradoans are following the election the closest, at least online. 1 in 8 Coloradoans, who were online in September, visited a candidate’s website or top political blog. This battleground state that has voted Republican in the past 3 elections, is considered by many to be "in-play" for Obama this year.
  • Easterners certainly love their politics"¦if not their politicians. Interest in the race, generally speaking, is highest in the Northeast and greater D.C. area.
  • Residents online in other parts of the country, particularly the Deep South are paying considerably less attention to the race. The bottom ten states, in terms of online interest, all hail from traditionally Republican states across the Deep South. The general ambivalence towards this race suggests that despite the addition of Sarah Palin to the ticket, McCain has failed to connect with social conservatives in the Republican Party.
About Matt Pace:
As VP of Retail and Consumer Products at Compete, Matt Pace is responsible for leading a team of client services professionals who deliver digital intelligence and insights to clients in the retail and consumer packaged good industries. Before Matt joined the Compete Team he was a CPA and senior auditor with Deloitte & Touche. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattpace.

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