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OpEdNews Internet website rank Exit

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by Rob Kall

After the End of the First Day and a half of the Moveon.org "primary" Howard Dean appears to have taken the lead. But perhaps equally important, Moveon.org has contributed an exciting new way to stir up interest in the voting process on the internet, drawing hundreds of thousands of voters, as many as voted in the first few state run presidential primary elections. One thing is certain. The MoveOn.org primary has galvanized the activity of all the candidate's websites. This is good for the primary election process, good for the candidates and good for democracy

Dean went into the race with a strong lead and held it, bringing his website activity up to a level that competes with the entire senate website's activity. Kerry, a favorite, barely inches out Kucinich, whose close finish shows he is a serious contender Al Sharpton appears to be the loser of this race, with rankings far, far below the other eight competitors.  Perhaps the most interesting outcome, with Carol Mosely-Braun finishing with a respectable web ranking ahead of what all but the top four had a week ago, is shown in this AP photo of a possible Prez/VP match-up.

The OpEdNews.com internet exit poll for the MoveOn.org primary is not really a poll. Polls sample. This is the whole monty-- the whole web activity pattern, not just based on a few hundred or thousand people. It's based on millions.It is based on the candidates' actual website activity. OpEdnews.com has been tracking the candidates' web sites since early May, using the web ranking functions of alexa.com, which is owned by amazon.com.

One thing is certain. The MoveOn.org primary has galvanized the activity of all the candidate's websites. This is good for the primary election process, good for the candidates and good for democracy. This "activation of interest has been particularly good for  Dennis Kucinich, Carol Mosely-Braun, Jonathan Edwards, and Bob Graham whose weekly rankings each jumped close to 100,000 points or more. The candidates all benefitted from this "rising tide" of interest, with big jumps in web activity across the board, with all but Al Sharpton reaching activity levels close to the top 100,000 sites (these include foreign language sites from China, Japan, Korea, etc.)

But Howard Dean, who started the spring with a commanding lead and strong, web-savvy support, the candidate with the most to lose, held on to his lead and rode the wave of pumped up internet activity to a very strong web position that actually exceeds the "reach" (number of people visiting his site per million web users) of the whole US Senate website. Dean could just as easily seen his lead be eclipsed, if any of the other contenders surged ahead, pulling greater internet interest.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the competition was the strong showing of Dennis Kucinich. He's been labeled a candidate with no hope of success. But in one week, his web rank jumped from a  sixth to third place, with weekly average on June 19th of 171,431 to a day average (all candidates are being compared, for the primary, on day averages) of 16,388. Kerry, who Kucinich briefly pulled ahead of after the first day (based on web reach,) moved in the same week from a ranking of 50,972, to 13,288. A strong finish, but not as big a leap. Kerry is seen as one of the main contenders, particularly with his Vietnam veteran background. Kucinich is anti war.

Bob Graham, still in the back of the pack, made the biggest leap, from 361,951 to 78,864.

Carol Mosely Braun is another "winner" in this primary, since her jump in activity, with a minimal support team, shows that she is being seriously considered by internet visitors. This may not land her in position as a viable presidential candidate, but it may give her the credibility to shoot for the vice-president slot, regardless of who wins the big one.

Even the more right leaning centrist candidates Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephart showed dramatic, though not as significant improvement this week. The race is heating up... and the end of the candidate list is not yet in sight. Retired General Wesley Clark had 2% support in a New hampshire poll of 400 people (compare that to the 50-150  million+ the web rankings represent ) which placed John Kerry in the lead with 30%, and Howard Dean in second place with 21%. Carol Mosely-Braun's 

There have been criticisms of the Moveon.org primary-- that Dean timed the announcement of his presidency to maximize its effect on the process, that only three of the nine candidates were allowed an opportunity to reach, the moveon.org mailing list. An article today in the Washington post  reported: "'Three candidates were given a head start,' said Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for Sen. John Edwards (N.C.). 'It's like the equivalent of asking all of the candidates to attend a forum in which only three of them are allowed to give opening statements.'"

And the fact is, since Edwards came in fourth, and not too distant from Kucinich and Kerry, that this criticism is quite legitimate. If Edwards had received the same emailing support, he might have placed higher. The three candidates who were able to reach the moveon.org mailing list were given that advantage because they placed highest in a straw poll done by moveon.org.

And this "edge" could have made a huge difference for Edwards, who by our tracking, came in fourth. And Dean's official announcement during the time we did our statistics taking of his web site certainly boosted his numbers.

The Opednews.com internet exit poll is an experimental approach to evaluating the status of primary candidates. The moveon.org primary will be a good test of how well the poll model functions. After people voted at the Moveon.org web site, they were offered the opportunity to click on a link which would take them to their candidate's site where they can either sign up to be volunteers and or contribute campaign funds. This is part of the premise that we've based our Internet Exit Polltm" results on-- the hypothesis that people will click through to their candidates' site.

Moveon.org will be releasing it's official results at Noon Friday, June 27th. To be a winner, a candidate must win 50% of the votes. That's the question the Dean campaign asked us when they heard the results. The stats suggest that he did not get 50%.

Movon.org has also funded a poll to be done by telephone.  Opednews.com will update the report later today as stats are updated on the web. It appears though that the current stats used are most reflective of the results of the competition. Our follow-up report should give an interesting picture of the new balance as web activity ebbs back to it 's more leisurely pace.

Jonathan Leblang Vice pres. of web services for Alexa Internet, the Amazon owned company that operates alexa.com, said that he was not aware of any previous use of Alexa.com for political analysis. Describing how Alexa works, he said "the web site statistics represent the daily web activity of  several hundred thousand users. He also added the caveat, "Visits to a site do not constitute a vote." and that "Alexa Can't comment on the interpretation of the data."

For a look at the actual statistics table this report was based on, see below.

This "internet exit poll" was not done with the authorization of Moveon.org.  Wes Boyd responded to our press release as follows : "What fun.  I love this kind of innovative work. "

Find out how this report did in comparison with the actual final results

Rob Kall rob@opednews.com , of Newtown, PA,  is the editor/publisher of OpEdNews.com, a progressive news and opinion website, and organizer of cutting edge meetings that bring together world leaders, such as the Winter Brain Meeting and the StoryCon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story This article is copyright by Rob Kall, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached.


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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