Latest Pew study shows 60 million Americans using the Internet for politics

The latest report of the Pew Internet and American Life Project came out and shows the inexorable shift of voters towards using the web to engage politics. The news was in most newspapers today and the highlights can be seen bouncing around the web.  The San Francisco Chronicle’s article highlighted the New Politics Institute’s take at the top of the piece and the bottom. I include the top:

Sen. Barack Obama updated the world on his presidential aspirations this week by posting a video to his new Web site, where the online response to the Illinois Democrat has been "overwhelming," aides said Wednesday.

The move was strategic, as well as a means to reach Web-savvy supporters. Not only could campaign handlers tightly control Obama's image better in the three-minute video, they also could pad their online address book of supporters with those who visited the site.

It all made for a fine illustration of how new media tools are reshaping politics by disseminating information and involving citizens in campaigns quickly and efficiently.

 "If he had called a press conference in Washington to say he was announcing an exploratory committee, he might have been seen for a few seconds on the evening news," said Peter Leyden, director of the New Politics Institute, a San Francisco think tank at the forefront of incorporating new media into politics.

 By releasing it online, Leyden said, viewers could pass the video around, "and people could have it come at them from all different directions. Plus, the mainstream media reported on it.

 "You're going to see a lot more of this in 2008," Leyden said. "Candidates aren't going to be buying as much advertising time on broadcast television. "

For more on the story, including how we wrap up the analysis, see the actual story itself. Or if you want all the data, go to the Pew website.

Peter Leyden