Information seeking and voting behaviors

I think the current presidential election in the US is really interesting. Whatever the outcome of democratic primaries will be, it will be a historical nomination. This is why i think our WikiCandidate project is particularly timely, but that is not the central theme of this post (you can still however go and register at the website :)

Recently Hitwise published an interesting analysis comparing demographic profiles* of visitors to campaign websites of Clinton, Obama, and McCain (the three leading candidates). Their analysis shows really nicely how stereotypically liberal voters tend to visit Clinton’s and Obama’s websites, and stereotypically conservative voters tend to visit that of McCain.

The interesting part is however the information seeking behavior of those who are labeled as independents, as they are the ones who perceived as deciding voice in this election. When they account for group size, Hitwise conclude:

So the data indicates that Clinton and McCain’s websites are appealing to a broader sprectrum of voters than Obama and that McCain is appealing most to those more likely to include Independents.

which i think is interesting.

The question for me now is what is the link between information seeking behavior and voting patterns. Is the fact that I often visit Obama’s website associated with higher probability of me voting for Obama? There must be quite a lot of research on this topic. I wonder also how these behaviors are correlated with mainstream media consumption and prominence of particular candidates in given periods of time? Another thing that I think would be interesting to compare is Obama vs. Clinton, as this is the most discussed political battle at the moment. Somehow this comparison is missing from Hitwise analysis.

Frankly, I envy Hitwise and the data they have about online behaviors. There are so many interesting questions one could investigate…

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* More about the profiles here (look for “update”).

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