On the eve of the conventions, Barack Obama holds a distinct advantage over Mitt Romney in the way his campaign is using digital technology to communicate directly with voters. The Obama campaign is posting almost four times as much content and is active on nearly twice as many platforms, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The report, which analyzed the content and volume of candidate communications on their websites and social media channels from June 4-17, 2012, finds that the digital gap between the campaigns was the greatest on Twitter. The Romney campaign averaged 1 tweet per day while the Obama campaign averaged 29 tweets, 17 per day on @BarackObama (the Twitter account associated with his presidency) and 12 on @Obama2012 (the account associated with his campaign). Obama also had about twice as many blog posts on his campaign website than did Romney and more than twice as many YouTube videos.
The study also found that while both campaigns' digital content primarily focused on their own candidate, roughly a third of the posts from the Romney campaign were about Obama-largely attacking him for a policy stance or action. About half as many of the Obama campaign's posts, 14%, focused on his challenger during the period studied.
"As the conventions drew closer, Romney's campaign took steps to close the technology gap, and may well take more with the addition of Paul Ryan to the ticket," said PEJ Deputy Director Amy Mitchell. "But there is a long way to go before the Romney team matches the level of activity of the Obama campaign."The report notes a gap:
Neither campaign made much use of the social aspect of social media. Rarely did either candidate reply to, comment on, or "retweet" something from a citizen-or anyone else outside the campaign. On Twitter, 3% of the 404 Obama campaign tweets studied during the June period were retweets of citizen posts. Romney's campaign produced just a single retweet during these two weeks-repeating something from his son Josh.