55% of Republicans, 61% of Democrats, and 56% of independents look online for news about politics or the 2008 campaigns

78% of Republicans, 74% of Democrats, and 76% of independents go online. Among internet users, 55% of Republicans, 61% of Democrats, and 56% of independents look online for news about politics or the 2008 campaigns. 49% of Republicans, 50% of Democrats, and 48% of independents use the internet, email, or text messaging to learn about the campaign and engage in the political process, according to Pew Internet Project

58% of Americans have contacted government in 2007

58% of Americans have contacted their government in some way during 2007, according to the Pew Internet Project. Some 42% of those who contacted the government say they visited an agency in person; 29% say they called a government office; 18% say they sent an email to a government office or agency; and 13% say they wrote a letter to the government. Some 27% of those who say they contacted the government in the past year say they contacted their local government; another 27% say they contacted their state government. Slightly fewer – 23% – say they contacted the federal government. And 12% say they reached out to several different levels of government. About 10% of respondents either could not remember or would not say where they approached the government. 60% of white Americans say they have contacted their government in the past year, while 49% of minority adults have done the same. 65% of internet users have contacted the government in 2007, compared with 36% of those who do not use the internet.

40% of Americans prefer to get a government document online

40% of Americans would prefer to get a government document or publication from the internet, compared with 31% who would prefer it be sent via the mail, according to the Pew Internet Project. 19% would prefer to collect the document from a government office and 6% say they would go to the local public library. 15% of low-access users prefer to get documents from the internet, while 46% would like the document by mail, 25% from the government office, and 8% at the library. Americans seem to choose their methods for contacting the government on a case-bycase. 57% of adults will use the telephone, while only 17% will use the internet. In exploring government benefits for yourself or someone else, only 26% use the telephone and 46% use the internet. For getting a license or permit for a car, 13% use the telephone, 31% use the internet, and. 53% choose some other way, probably because such transactions involved often require in-person appearances, often with documentation.

70% of Americans expect government sites to be useful

70% of Americans expect to be able to get information or services from the government agency website when they need it, according to the Pew Internet Project. Only 23% do not expect that. 80% of internet users expect the government websites to provide what they need, compared with only 41% of those who do not use the internet. Even those with only dial-up access to the internet at home (part of the low-access group) expect good government websites: 76% say the websites should provide the information and assistance they need. Nearly 80% of members of Gen X and Gen Y (age 18-42 years) expect government websites to be this useful. Only 40% of those age 65 years and over do so.

Presidential campaign news sources for younger Americans: MSNBC, CNN, Yahoo!

41% of 18-29 year olds listed more than one website, compared with just 24% of people age 30 and over, according to the Pew Internet Project. Both MySpace and YouTube are sources of campaign information unique to younger people. MySpace is cited as a campaign news source by 8% of the younger online election news consumers – less than 1% of those ages 30 and over, and the pattern for YouTube is almost identical. But younger online election news consumers also turn to the larger news sites in greater numbers as well. MSNBC, CNN and Yahoo News are cited as sources far more often by 18-29 year olds than by those who are older. In fact, 61% of younger people getting campaign news online list at least one of these three sites among their sources, compared with 46% of those age 30 and older.

Site Total 18-29 30+
MSNBC.com 26 30 24
CNN.com 23 30 21
Yahoo News 22 27 19
Google News 9 10 9
Fox News 9 5 10
AOL News 7 5 8
New York Times 6 5 6
Drudge Report 3 1 4
MySpace 3 8 *
YouTube 2 6 *
BBC 2 2 2
USA Today 1 0 2
Washington Post 1 1 1
Other Newspapers 6 6 6
ISP Homepages 3 4 3
Candidate Websites 2 2 3
Local TV/Radio 1 2 1
Other 20 23 18

78% of Internet users visited government Web sites

78% internet users have visited government websites to seek information or assistance, according to the Pew Internet Project. They most commonly visit a local, state or federal government website: a total of 71% have done this, including 66% in the past year. 38% of them have gone online to research official government documents or statistics, including 35% who have done it in the past year. 24% have gone online to get advice or information from a government agency about a health or safety problem and 22% have gone online to get information about, or apply for, government benefits.

$4.5 bln to be spent on political campaigns in 2008

Political campaign spending on advertising media and marketing services is expected to rocket to an all-time high of $4.50 bln in the 2008 election cycle, as an acrimonious political environment, record fundraising and the high number of presidential candidates are driving an unprecedented media spending splurge, according to PQ Media. Total political media spend in the 2008 election cycle, including all nine advertising and marketing communications segments used for this purpose, is expected to jump 43.3% compared with the 2006 cycle and is projected to soar 64.1% over the 2004 election.