Polling voters in the digital age
Updated: Dec 28, 2021
In today’s day and age, a lot of the political campaigning activities have been moved to the online space. Among other things, these include advertising on social media, distribution of video content, but also hiring influencers on networks like Instagram to promote their campaigns. In spite of the claims that online campaigning can make communication between campaigners and voters cheaper, the evolution of spending shows otherwise. In 2008, Barack Obama spent about USD 8 million for digital advertising with slightly less than USD 500 thousand spent on Facebook directly. Twelve years later, an estimated USD 7 billion was spent on political advertising in the US.
However, such a practice is also a matter of concern. Online campaigning remains largely unregulated allowing tech giants the possibility to define their rules of the game and determine the type of ads that their users are seeing. Moreover, the lack of oversight and transparency of spending on online political campaigning has raised issues concerning the integrity of elections.