New Hampshire's primary will no longer be the first election in the 2008 presidential race. MySpace announced plans to hold its own virtual election January 1 and 2, 2008, reports News.com.
"Iowa and New Hampshire may be selecting delegates, but the MySpace vote will be the first test of where candidates stand in the election year," added Tom Anderson, President of MySpace.
The conventional wisdoom is that MySpace is peopled mostly by the under-18 crowd, in which case the election is really virtual - it wouldn't even serve as a poll of eligible voters. But the conventional wisdom appears to be wrong, Mike Sachoff at WebSpaceNews notes. According to comScore, 85 percent of MySpace's 65 million American visitors are of voting age.
In addition Nielsen//NetRatings indicates that MySpace users 18 and older have a high level of efficacy and are three times more likely to interact online with a public official or candidate. They also found that MySpace users are 42 percent more likely to watch online video relating to politics, 35 percent more likely to research politics online and 44 percent more likely to listen to online audio having to do with politics.
The open question would be whether the candidates make an effort to win the social networking straw poll. Most candidates (at least Democratic ones) pay at least lip service to social networking and the rising Internet campaign paradigm.
An even more important question is whether the election will show some sort of translation into real votes. If social networking actually works to put voters in the voting box (or at least ballots in the mail), it could change the economics, voter power and cost of entry of American politics.
That's probably some ways off, though. Campaign spending is hitting record levels - with Hillary Clinton raising $26 million so far, three times as much as campaigns had raised at this point in the last presidential run.