GOP voters now active on social networking sites for 'political purposes' like Democrats

Washington, Jan 28 (ANI): The concept of approaching people ahead of elections through social networking might have been popularised by the Democrats in 2008, but the Republicans voters and tea party activists caught up with them in 2010, according to a new Pew report.

The Christian Science Monitor quoted the report as saying that only 29 percent Republican or John McCain voters were active on social networking sites in 2008 compared with 44 percent of Democrats or Barack Obama voters.

However, things changed by 2010 as Republicans were almost equally participating in online networking sites for political purposes like that of the Democrats.

This is partly because people belonging to 50 year of age group and older, who are more likely to align themselves with more conservative candidates, are the fastest-growing demographic group using social media.

The paper quoted Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Internet and American Life Project and author of the report, as saying that their numbers reportedly doubled between April 2009 and May 2010.

"Two years ago, it was young Obama supporters using Facebook to engage with the campaign. Now, their parents are using Facebook to engage with the tea party," he said.

According to Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the Republicans have used social networking sites very aggressively to put forward their ideas during the past two years, adding: "Everybody learned from the Obama campaign in 2008 that social media can be an effective tool to contact and galvanize voters."

"This advantage that Democrats used to have doesn't seem to have applied to the 2010 election, and I'm sure the Obama administration, like every other political actor, is much more conscious than he or she used to be about how important these new technologies are for communicating with voters," Rainie added. (ANI)

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