MySpace Hopscotches NH
It’s no secret that New Hampshire jealously guards its first-in-the-nation presidential primary advantage like a coyote with a fresh moose shank. It’s even enshrined in law, as well as in a pledge the Granite State asks candidates to sign saying they won’t campaign or participate in another state’s primary if it edges too closely to NH’s. Nevertheless, every cycle some state gets husky with NH, thinking it can horn in on a good thing – but it never works out that way. This year the hopeful usurper is Nevada, and NH is circling its wagons.
But NH pols and election officials are less concerned about another primary that will precede NH’s – MySpace will hold the first cyber-primary on Jan. 1st and 2nd. Its 65 million monthly users – 85% of who are 18 or older – will cast the first votes for president in 2008.
And why not? According to the Nielsen/NetRatings, MySpace users are 42% more likely to view politically-oriented video online, and 35% more likely to do their candidate research on the web.
Still, it raises many demographic questions: Will the cyber-primary make the MySpace friends sweepstakes that Sen. Barack Obama has thus far run away with become even more important to candidates? With a 65 million person straw poll kicking off the season, will they be forced to devote more resources to trolling for votes in cyberspace? Will the vote-total metrics be cross-tabbed to tell us whether Ludacris fans prefer Obama, while Clinton grabs the Lucinda Williams vote? Or will it all be just too skewed in favor of the young and forward-thinking, and against the not-so-young who don’t use the Internets, to matter?
“It's exciting,'” says Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, who wrote the original legislation protecting NH’s primary. “It draws more interest to the primary process, and that's good for us. Anything that increases overall awareness of the presidential election coming up might give us more attention.'”
And that’s really what it’s all about…
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