A study by Google has revealed that 37 per cent of urban Indian registered voters have an online presence, highlighting the importance of Internet in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
The Google-TNS survey titled ‘Urban Indian Voters’ was done to understand the impact of the Internet in the Lok Sabha elections 2014 and found that there is an opportunity for political parties and candidates to engage the urban Indian youth on the Internet. Interestingly the study also revealed that a significant portion of the urban Indian registered voters (42 per cent) were undecided about their party of choice.
The survey was carried out between March and September this year with a focus on 7,042 respondents—all registered voters who use the Internet.
Moreover, it revealed that social media platforms also play a crucial role in election campaigns. The respondents said that they would like to actively engage with the politicians online and politicians should allow citizens to comment online and also respond to their comments on social media platforms. Political leaders who maintain an active online presence were perceived as progressive and dynamic.
Similarly, another report released by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), social media marketing play a crucial role in the country’s elections and can bring the change in the final outcome of elections, by 1 percent. The study also revealed that spending on social media campaigns can swing 3%–4% of votes in 24 states where Internet usage is sizeable.
With India witnessing a shift in its Internet penetration, the country does not offer brands and businesses even a decent scope to get benefited from the online presence of average Indian citizens -even though there is an opportunity for political parties and candidates to engage with today’s urban Indian youth. However, if we compare the past elections of India with those of in US and UK, one doesn’t need to give a second thought before saying that we do not care much about online mediums during the time of elections, given that the online market in India is still at a nascent stage.
Of course traditional media plays a major role in determining the political outcomes in comparison to the Internet and online social media. But where we try to be sceptical about the influential role that traditional media plays – the influence of Internet in general elections and moreover, in any other part of our lives cannot be unheeded.
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