On the grounds that internet trends in the UK are frequently similar to those in the United States, politicians will be poring over evidence that the number of people using the web to get political news and information has increased nearly two-and-a-half times in the past four years.
The latest report from the Pew Internet Project shows that on a typical day in August, 26 million Americans went to the internet for information about the forthcoming mid-term elections. The comparison is with July 2002, a similar point in the political cycle, when the political audience was 11 million.
The raw figures leave a lot of questions unanswered. What proportions of the internet users going to party sites, mainstream media or bloggers? At the moment, Pew, like the rest of us, are guessing. They say:
Any number of reasons could be behind the increase in people turning to the internet for news about politics and the mid-term election campaign. More attractive internet content about politics â€“ from established news organizations, campaigns, independent media, and interested citizens â€“ may have drawn more users to the Web for this information.