TechCrunch reports that MySpace will be holding the first presidential primary on Jan 1-2, 2008. In Michael’s post and in its comments, there are a number of contentions and concerns about this announcement, including:
- It’s a publicity stunt
- It will really influence real world primaries
- It won’t really influence real world primaries
- “This is pure crap that will be spun as voter base support for a candidate.”
- The primary would be better conducted through Facebook, which would minimize duplicate/puppet accounts as well as tie “voters” to US residency
Personally, I like the Facebook suggestion (Michael’s idea), and not just because I’m a member of Facebook.
While we’ve seen the demographic information that indicates that MySpace is now dominated by people over 35, we know that it is still a popular haunt for teenagers. It has also been suggested that while there may be more registered users over the age of 35, the users that are more active and engaged certainly skew younger.
I haven’t taken the time to analyze the candidates’ 165,000+ MySpace friends (ref) for demographic data, but the simple fact of the matter is that a significant proportion (a plurality, if not a majority) of the MySpace “voters” will not be eligible to or simply will not vote in primary or general elections. Only 46.7% of the nearly 28 million citizens aged 18 to 24 voted in the last presidential election, and that’s the best it’s been in nearly 40 years (ref). I won’t even get into how many of ~110,000,000 members live outside the US, aren’t citizens or are under 18. What proportion of the MySpace “voters” will really be voters?
So let’s call it like it is: a publicity stunt by MySpace, and an interesting stat coming out next January, but probably not an accurate predictor of the real electionâ€”and not something the candidates need to worry too much about.
UPDATE: I’d forgotten about this, but one of my college professors suddenly came to mind while I thought further on this issue. Check out 1968’s Wild in the Streets for one vision of letting teenagers pick the president.