Pew: Obama Supporters To Stay Engaged
Yes he can, according to a new survey showing that many of his active supporters plan to be engaged with the incoming Obama Administration and advocate on behalf of the President-elect's programs.
Some 62% of Obama voters plan to encourage others to get behind the new administration's policies during the upcoming year, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.
The findings are based on a survey conducted from Nov. 20 to Dec. 4 of 2,254 adults, which included 1,591 Internet users.
Conditioned to receiving constant updates from the Obama campaign, supporters also want to be kept in the loop. Almost half (46%) expect to hear directly from Obama or other White House officials at least occasionally during the next year.
"Voters want to hear directly from an (Obama) Administration and they are clearly interested in playing an active role in supporting his agenda," said Aaron Smith, a project research specialist and author of the report.
When it comes to promoting Obama's agenda, 48% of supporters expect do so through personal conversations, 25% by phone, and 16% online. Given the unprecedented embrace of online social networks, text messaging and other forms of new media during the campaign, one might expect a higher proportion to push for Obama online.
But Aaron noted that the Web was only part of a larger strategy. "The Internet in the campaign was really a tool used to support traditional types of interaction: going door-to-door, donating money, contacting people to enlist support," he said. "It wasn't just using the Internet for the sake of using the Internet."
Among those involved online during the campaign, a higher proportion (25%) planned to go online to champion Obama's policies.
After getting used to a steady stream of emails, text messages and blog posts from the Obama campaign team, supporters expect to get regular updates directly from the Obama Administration.
To that end, 37% of Obama voters on social networking sites expect to hear from the White House via social networks, while 34% of email users expect to hear via email. And although Obama may have to give up his beloved BlackBerry, 11% of text-messagers expect to get messages on their mobile phones from the President-elect or his staff.
Obama's main online outreach since the election has been through Change.gov, a site set up to track the transition and allow people to suggest their own ideas for changing the country.
The Pew study found that people have gone online to follow the transition process--15% of all voters and 24% of Obama supporters have visited transition-related sites. Among Obama backers, 6% have signed up for email updates about the transition, while 5% have joined email lists or online groups discussing the next administration.
Aaron pointed out that 10% of McCain voters have even visited a transition site. "That gives a sense that people are surprisingly interested in this stuff and speaks to the fact that the Obama folks have given people a reason to go to Change.gov," said Aaron.
Other groups aim to build on the surge of online political activism emerging in the 2008 election. MoveOn.org this month allowed members to vote online to select the key goals that the liberal advocacy group will focus on next year. And blog network Change.org in November teamed up with MySpace on an initiative to solicit policy ideas to be presented to the new administration.