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Obama's Steady Lead on the Web

Early polls indicate that Barack Obama's lead over John McCain is slight, but on the Web, BusinessWeek says the Illinois Senator's lead may be insurmountable. Whereas Republicans have focused on using traditional media to reach voters, the Democrats have embraced social media to help disseminate information.

For example, Senator Obama has grabbed almost 1.5 million "friends" on MySpace and Facebook; he even has 850,000 friends on his own social network MyBarackObama.com. McCain, meanwhile, has just 203,348 supporters across the Web's top two social networks, according to Web strategy tracking firm TechPresident. "The Republicans have had some success online, but not to the degree the Democrats have and certainly not to the degree the Obama campaign has," says Andrew Rasiej, co-founder of TechPresident.

As such, Obama has raised more than $200 million for his campaign through donations over the Web. "There is now a recognition with the leaders of the party that, though they might not totally understand online, the Internet matters, and it is an area that we need to participate in," says Austin Walne, the former e-campaign co-director for former Senator Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who withdrew from the race earlier this year.

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