Will Online Election Campaign Tools Win an Election? – A Reaction

I was browsing the web and blog-hopping for Philippine Elections-related posts. And I saw a blog post at Aczafra.com, asking the question: “Will Online Election Campaign Tools Win an Election?”

Reading further, the bottomline of the post was:

Web presence and online media coverage would have no significant effect on the chances of a senatorial candidate in the coming senatorial elections.

Now going back to the question “Will Online Election Campaign Tools Win an Election?” My answer to that is a resounding “Yes!

To give everyone an idea, in the last elections this was how the senatorial race looked like (Data from Wikipedia):

Rank Candidate Party Votes
1. Manuel Roxas II K-4 – Liberal Party 19,372,888
2. Ramon Revilla Jr. K-4 – Lakas CMD 15,801,531
3. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. KNP / PDP-Laban 13,519,998
4. Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal KNP-LDP 13,253,692
5. Richard Gordon K-4 – Lakas CMD 12,707,151
6. Pilar Juliana Cayetano K-4 – Lakas CMD 12,542,054
7. Miriam Defensor-Santiago K-4 – PRP 12,187,401
8. Alfredo Lim KNP – Independent 11,286,428
9. Juan Ponce Enrile KNP – PMP 11,191,162
10. Jinggoy Estrada KNP – PMP 11,094,120
11. Manuel Lapid K-4 – Lakas CMD 10,970,941
12. Rodolfo Biazon K-4 – Liberal Party 10,635,270
13. Robert Barbers K-4 – Lakas CMD 10,624,585
14. Ernesto Maceda KNP – NPC 9,944,328
15. John Henry Osmea K-4 – NPC 9,914,179

In the Philippine Senatorial Elections, the top twelve vote-getters get a seat. What separated Numbers 11-15 were roughly 1 Million votes. Senator Biazon barely edged the late Robert Barbers by 10, 685 votes.

What am I driving at? There is around 7 million total Internet users in the Philippines and an estimated 1.1 Million active Internet users. (By active, I mean people who use the Internet more than once a week.) Had Barbers cornered an additional 1% of the active Internet using population, that would have gotten him over the hump. Similarly, it would would have taken Ernesto Maceda (#14) 63% of the Internet electorate to get a seat. That number represents an increase of only 7% of his total votes in 2004.

I am realisitic to think that the Web and Internet will still take a few more elections before its true effects can be felt. HOWEVER, right now, a successful cyber-campaign can get middle-tier and borderline candidates over to the next level.