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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Courting the college vote

    Editor’s note: Following an internal investigation, the Daily Wildcat is unable to ascertain the existence of students quoted in at least four stories written by reporter Jim Myers. These stories include: “”UA programs rank again,”” on Sept. 26; “”Courting the college vote,”” on Sept. 22; “”Drugs in the Water?”” on Aug. 27; and “”Budget to bring more UA building,”” on Aug. 27. The Daily Wildcat regrets this betrayal of trust. The reporter has been terminated.

    In a time when citizens rely on the Internet for information more than ever before, politicians are increasingly using it to promote their campaigns.

    As politicians drive to reel in the youth vote as the November elections draw closer, campaigns are progressively relying on different media to reach younger voters, most of all the Internet. Democratic and republican candidates on the local and national levels are all employing advertising in “”new media”” forums, including blogs, YouTube and Facebook.

    “”It’s a lot easier to get on Facebook and check out what’s going on with your candidate than it is to wade through all the talk shows on TV,”” said Adam Bennett, a psychology sophomore. “”Personally, I think it’s a good way for candidates to advertise themselves.””

    At the presidential level, the Facebook pages of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama contain the normal information categories, such as age, previous work experience and favorite television shows (McCain: “”24″” and “”Seinfeld,”” Obama: “”SportsCenter””). Both feature links to campaign Web sites and videos, as well as updates on recent activities.

    Beyond their initial similarities, the Facebook pages of Obama and McCain differ in both number of supporters and additional features. McCain’s page lists approximately 535,000 supporters, while Obama’s Facebook supporters number approximately 1,891,000. McCain’s page also includes a link to the McCain campaign blog, as well as information about filling out absentee ballots.

    Local Tucson politicians are also utilizing Facebook to a lesser degree, with Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords claiming 816 online supporters to Republican challenger Tim Bee’s 89. Both candidates’ pages feature less personal information and fewer external links than their presidential counterparts.

    “”The Internet is a good way for people to gain initial awareness about a candidate,”” said Tim George, a mechanical engineering senior. “”But beyond that, more traditional campaign methods will show you what they actually stand for.””

    Traditional forms of advertising, such as television campaign ads, are also being heavily transferred to the Internet. Obama’s latest television ad, titled “”Promise,”” has garnered 12,749 views on YouTube since it was released five days ago. Non-politician-endorsed ads, such as a pro-McCain video on YouTube entitled “”Dear Mr. Obama,”” which has garnered 8,929,490 views in the three weeks since it was released, are also speculated to play a role in the outcome of the election.

    Local Tucson politicians’ television ads are also showing up on YouTube, although the trend shows negative campaigning receiving more attention. The anti-Tim Bee ad, titled “”Tim Bee and George W: Another Bee in the Hive,”” has gathered 1,056 views, while the video for his official campaign ad, “”Tim Bee: Advocate Against Domestic Violence,”” received only 234 views.

    “”I think the Internet campaigning has made college voters more educated, for sure,”” said Bryce Taylor, an undeclared freshman. “”Will that translate into people actually going to vote though? I guess we’ll see.””

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