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Thursday, June 7, 2007
posted by Justin Hart | 9:17 AM | permalink

Recent reports indicate that Thompson is beefing up his virtual team of advisers. In fact, it seems that most of what Thompson is doing is virtual. The question in my mind is this: will Fred "Max Headroom" Thompson come out of his Internet box?

Early leaks to the blogosphere indicated that the Thompson campaign would be radically "different" relying on Internet efforts rather than "trudging through Iowa and New Hampshire". Yesterday, the Hotline reported a gambit of internet savvy Thompson-ites including Mike Turk, Jon Henke, and William Beutler. This is a very capable team.

However, this is one of the critical questions in political campaign history. Will a predominately virtual campaign make the same impact as pressing the flesh?

I remain convinced that it will not and cannot.

Take for instance two facts on the table here.

First, the reach of the blogosphere. Now obviously the Thompson campaign isn't limiting its efforts to the blogosphere but it's a good comparative sample data point to begin with.

If you look at the top 5 conservative blogs on the Internet (according the TTLB) and look at their average rate of "daily visits" you get the following:

Malkin - 105,000
Instapundit - 125,000
LGF - 195,000
Powerline - 58,000
Captain's Quarters - 29,000

Experience has shown that "Absolute Unique Visitors" (that is true warm bodies) is about a third of "daily visits". In other words, real advocates of specific blogs visit the blog about 3 times a day or more. Many times from different computers.

If we assume that 60% of these visitors are shared visitors (i.e. I visit Michelle and Powerline everyday myself) and factor in the 1/3rd calculation we get about 100,000 unique visitors.

Don't get me wrong... I think the blogosphere is the bomb! But it ain't the election bomb - yet.

One more stat. According to a recent survey from the Chronicle of Philantropy, the 20 largest charities are raising only 1% of their funds from online donations.

Now, these are not directly correlated to the Thompson campaign but neither are they anecdotal.

In short, I think Fred is one cycle too early. Relying heavily on an Internet-driven campaign won't win you the election in my mind, but it will be a great learning process.

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It would be interesting to try and determine what percentage of people who particpate in Republican Presidential Primaries (i.e. actually vote) visit any candidate websites before voting. I would suspect it is somewhat low.

I am skeptical as well.

Speaking of 80s TV icons, Mitt Romney sure does have something of a "Sam Malone" look about him.

By Anonymous cosmoreaxer, at June 8, 2007 at 7:16 AM  

Hey cosmo...
blogged here...great minds....

(Justin knows its all in fun...)

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