Obama Extended Online Advantage in Race's Final Weeks

As Americans head to the polls today, a look back at the closing weeks of the race reveals that Barack Obama increasingly distanced himself from John McCain in the online race as the election neared.

Weekly unique visitors to Obama’s website (graphed below) quickly rose from 540,000 at the start of August to an interim peak of 2.5 million during the week of the Democratic National Convention. The race narrowed online the following week as attention shifted to the Republicans (Sarah Palin in particular.) After the dust from the conventions settled, Obama’s traffic continued to soar, fueling his record $150 million in campaign contributions in September. Obama’s traffic later eclipsed his convention-fueled spike three weeks before Election Day.

McCain’s traffic also rose in the lead up to November 4th, but his growth was relatively modest compared to Obama’s. One reason for this was that McCain, unlike Obama, kept his promise to accept public campaign financing. As a result, McCain received a one-time cash infusion from the Federal Government but was then prevented, in the general election from soliciting contributions from voters. McCain’s traffic peaked after Palin was added to the ticket in late August, but never again reached that level throughout the remainder of the race.

The above graph also plots the weekly ratio of Obama visitors to McCain visitors. During the final eight weeks of the race, Obama’s site traffic averaged 2.2 times greater than that of his GOP rival.

Check out all of Compete’s 2008 Presidential Election coverage here:

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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