Can you find Presidential candidate's answers on issues? - 7.2.2007.1
With half the over, and pundits as well as candidates crowing about how much money they raised, I have prepared to release the current results of my poll on who might win the 2008 Presidential election. Before I mention who is leading my informal poll I want to bring up something far more important. It’s not the question of how much money is coming to each of the candidates from the healthcare lobby (which is substantial – Senator Clinton leads on that) or other corporate donations. It’s not how the candidates have used the internet to gain funds from the general public (which even with the record breaking numbers raised by Senator Obama pale to the lobbyist and corporate donation). I’m not even looking at how pundits are so focused on the issue of money raised they discount anyone who has not raised enough money (like Mr. John Edwards and Senator McCain). No, the issue is that while every candidate has a website, roughly 42% of the public can’t find answers about the issues.
According to a iCrossing study, 42% is the number of people searching for information on issues and candidates only to find nothing is there. This includes websites for the candidates themselves. You might say well if those Americans that are say 45+ are looking they are not as familiar with the internet and computers, so it might be a mistake on their part. If you did say that yoou are wrong. The emphasis of those looking online for information are between thwe ages of 18 – 35.
Forty-seven percent of those who go online for information about candidates and issues use search engines to conduct their research, equal to the 46 percent who do not.
Of potential voters who are looking for election information online, 61 percent of 18 to 24 year olds and 55 percent of 25 to 34 year olds seek answers on user-driven content sites such as blogs, YouTube and Wikipedia.
Issue- oriented searches dominate over explorations of candidates' voting and personal histories by a margin of nearly two to one; yet nearly all candidates rank poorly for issue-based search visibility.
I want to emphasize that last part, nearly all candidates rank poorly for issue-based search visibility. Why is it so difficult to find answers about issues on a Presidential candidate’s website? They want to tell you how friendly, joe-average, just like you, they are, but they won’t speak clearly and definitively about say national healthcare. Or what is their exist strategy for Iraq, or what happens after we are gone. Information gets fuzzy about social security, or providing an education to ALL the children of the nation. Not even a straight answer on what they want to do about illegal immigration.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying that they have a soundbite; I’m talking about a plan. A beginning, middle and end. A structured outline that anyone who can read can understand or at least follow. You can easily learn why Mr. John Edwards paid $400 for a haircut, or that Senator Obama quit smoking, or how many times Mr. Rudy Giuliani has appeared in drag. But do you care? Is any of that more important to making sure that when you go to sleep at night, or your loved ones go to work, that you won’t have to fear a terrorist attack? How does the information they give compare to whether they can ensure that the American dream of your children living a better life than yours will be a reality?
Continued in Part 2...