Will the Candidate Who 'Gets It' Get the Presidential Nod?

A survey reveals that voters think the new president should know as much about the Internet as they do. 

Two-thirds of voters in a recent survey believe that presidential candidates should know as much about the Internet as they do, according to a new poll commissioned by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee.

When asked if the new president will know as much about the Internet as they know, almost 45 percent said yes, while 22 percent did not think the candidates would be as savvy as them but wished that they would be. Almost 40 percent of 18- to- 29-year-olds thought they knew more about the Internet than the candidates.

"We need the candidates to 'get it,'" Jerry Berman, chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus, told eWEEK Jan. 30. "We need a president who understands high-tech issues in order to drive the economy and to develop consumer trust in the Internet."

The Zogby International poll involved 3,585 adults and was conducted Jan. 21-23. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.7 percent.

Of those surveyed, 38 percent said the top tech priority for the new president should be energy technology policy, followed by privacy and security (29 percent), health IT (14 percent) and the digital divide (9 percent).

"We are elated that there is going to be a change in administrations," Berman said. "[President Bush] is an oil well president in a high-tech era."

Almost half (49 percent) of those surveyed cited exposure of geo-location information as their top privacy concern. Privacy issues, which trailed far behind geo-location concerns, included voters' fears that someone would post an online picture of them in a swimsuit (11 percent) or drunk (11 percent).

The survey also revealed that the Internet has supplanted television and radio as a primary source of political information. Overall, 48 percent of those surveyed said the Internet was their primary source of presidential candidate information. Television was cited 31 percent of the time, while radio trailed in third at 13 percent.

Almost 67 percent of 18- to- 29-year-olds said the Internet was their primary source of political news, while only 29 percent of those 65 or older go online as their top source of news about the candidates.