Online Behavior: How People Prepped for the Polls

Ballot Box

Image from: Ballot Box / Shutterstock


Just in case you didn’t know, the election is over. It’s been resolved. There’s bound to be a wealth of analysis about the results in the coming days, but I’d like to take a moment to do an analysis that preempts the results. I want to look at online behavior just before polling day.  Below is a snapshot of various political-centric online properties in the days/weeks preceding the election, giving us an idea of how people behave in preparation for the polls.

Unique Visitors to vs. BarackObama.comAbove is a graph of Unique Visitors to either candidate’s homepage over the past 6 months. Notably, it looks like Romney’s site broke out of a consistent upward trend in September, perhaps a preamble to his defeat last night.

Daily Attention to vs.

Looking at the attention to the sites (as a fraction of the total US time spent online), we can see that while Romney maintains a rising trend, Obama’s homepage received a jarring  spike in attention the Sunday before Election Day.

Daily Attention to

Traffic to political-centric auxiliary sites also saw increases. For instance, a nonpartisan research guide to money’s influence on U.S. elections and public policy, saw an 87% jump in attention in just one day. This shows the extent of research people are participating in, meaning there is a certain sect of voters that are not content with just the ads they ingest passively through TV, social and other media.

What do you think? How do auxiliary sites play into a voter’s decision? Do you think the sudden lapse in unique visitation to Romney’s site was a preview of his loss? How serious is a digital presence to a candidate’s victory? For a more in-depth look at either candidate’s digital following, check out our infographic: DIGITAL DUEL 2012.

About Ryan LaSala:
Ryan La Sala joins Compete as the Digital Marketing Co-op for, sovereign of all things social media. Ryan is a current attendant of Northeastern University, dual-majoring in Cultural Anthropology and International Affairs (with minors in Biology and Psychology), with career interests in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Consumer Anthropology. Aside from acquiring aspirations with big words, Ryan’s other interests include reading cheesy fiction, writing in any capacity, singing and cooking. Find Ryan on twitter @Ryality or connect with him on LinkedIn.