Political Web Sites Have a Significant Impact on Americans’ Pre-Election Attitudes and Behaviors, Comscore Reports

Breakthrough Survey Reveals Trends Critical to Presidential Campaigns

Reston, Va., Jan. 28, 2004 – Comscore Networks today announced the results of breakthrough survey research revealing that political Web sites have a significant effect on visitors’ interest in, engagement with, and opinions of political issues and candidates. The research was conducted by Comscore Survey Solutions, a division of Comscore Networks.

Comscore Survey Solutions’ unique technology permits the selection of survey participants at random or based upon specific behavioral or demographic characteristics. Using this approach, Comscore polled citizens who were known to have been both visitors and non-visitors to political Web sites, and segmented their responses accordingly. Comscore's study of these responses yielded dramatic insights into how visitors to political Web sites differ from the general population.

Visitors are Highly Engaged in the Political Process
The Comscore survey found that visitors to political sites are far more likely to report that they are highly interested in political issues and candidates. Specifically, 73 percent of visitors to political Web sites report that they are either “extremely interested” or “very interested” in political issues, compared to only 38 percent of non-visitors.

To further measure political engagement, the survey asked both visitors and non-visitors whether they participated in any of ten political activities, ranging from registration to vote, to campaign donations, to attending political demonstrations. Comscore found significant differences between visitors and non-visitors for each of these engagement measures. For example, 87 percent of visitors reported they are registered to vote compared to 77 percent of non-visitors. At more involved levels of engagement, the chasm between visitors and non-visitors is far greater. Approximately 25 percent of political site visitors reported that they had donated money to a campaign or special interest group in the past three years, versus just 4 percent of non-visitors. More than 60 percent of visitors said they had contacted a politician in the past three years – more than three times as great as the proportion (17 percent) of non-visitors that did the same.

Political Web Sites Impact Attitudes and Behaviors
Among the most important outcomes of Comscore’s research was validation of the considerable impact political Web sites have on people’s opinions of, and participation in, the political process. For example, more than 40 percent of visitors reported that political sites have increased their interest in learning more about issues or candidates. Nearly 30 percent of visitors told Comscore that they are more actively involved in politics as a result of visiting these sites. Nearly one-fifth of visitors reported that political Web sites have actually changed their opinions on issues ranging from tax cuts to which candidate they plan to vote for in the 2004 presidential election.

“These findings provide compelling evidence of the Web’s value as a political communications tool,” said Rob Klein, senior vice president of Comscore Survey Solutions. “The benefit to candidates is clear, in opportunities to shape public opinion, cost-effectively increase donations, and rally supporters around a cause or event.”

Visiting and Voting Intent
Not surprisingly, Comscore found that past visitors are far more likely than non-visitors to report future intent to visit political Web sites. In fact, 59 percent of past visitors reported that they plan to visit political sites again in the next three months, while just 31 percent of non-visitors reported the same expectation. The magnitude of this difference underscores both the potential to conduct in-depth conversations with current visitors, but also the importance of a call to action to draw more of the remaining population that has not yet engaged via this medium.

Visitors to political Web sites are also substantially more likely to report that they will vote in the 2004 presidential election. Fully 85 percent of visitors answered that they “definitely will” vote in the November election compared to 56 percent of non-visitors.

“Just as candidates can benefit from the Web, so too does the visiting public,” noted Mr. Klein. “Survey respondents consistently told us that political Web sites had helped them become more interested and involved in the political process.”

Dean Draws More Visitors than Any Other Candidate in December
It comes as little surprise that Howard Dean, whose campaign has been particularly adept at attracting followers and funding through the Web, drew more visitors in December than any other candidate. President Bush’s Web site, GeorgeWBush.com, had the second highest visitor count in December, with just over 500,000 unique visitors.

Visitors to Major Candidate and Party Sites
December 2003
Source: Comscore MMX Custom Data

Unique Visitors

















Full Research Study Available
A full analysis, including additional components and detail not included in the preceding brief, is available to executives of political organizations and members of the media.

To receive the full analysis, schedule an interview with an analyst or learn more about Comscore political research capabilities, please contact Graham Mudd (312-775-6539 or gmudd@comscore.com).

About Comscore Survey Solutions
Comscore Survey Solutions, a division of Comscore Networks, provides clients with insight into the attitudes and intentions of diverse consumer segments through full-service research based on a broad range of traditional and innovative analytical approaches. Using a global panel of more than 1.5 million consumers, Comscore Survey Solutions addresses critical business issues, such as customer satisfaction, brand health, advertising response, product development and pricing strategy. Comscore Survey Solutions offers faster, more relevant results and can reach consumers that are otherwise difficult or cost prohibitive to measure.

About Comscore Networks
Comscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior. This capability is based on a representative cross-section of more than 1.5 million global Internet users who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their Web-wide browsing, buying and other transaction behavior, including offline purchasing. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across the entire spectrum of surfing and buying behavior. This deep knowledge of customers and competitors helps clients design more powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, Kraft, The Newspaper Association of America, Knight Ridder Digital, Best Buy, Verizon, Nestlé, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.

Bill Daddi
Daddi Brand Communications

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