Democrat Barack Obama has a "tremendous advantage" over Republican John McCain in the race for the White House, at least in his number of friends on social networking sites, a report showed.
"As of early September, Obama has more than a five-to-one lead over McCain in number of friends" on the two most popular US social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace, the report by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism said on Monday.
Obama, 47, had 1.7 million Facebook supporters and 510,000 MySpace friends, compared to 309,000 and 88,000 respectively on the two Internet sites for 72-year-old McCain, the report said.
This year's race for the White House is the first in which "campaigns and citizens have made extensive use of the Web for organizing, fund-raising, networking, and announcing news," the report said.
Pew analyst Amy Mitchell said the Obama campaign had tapped into the online mine of connecting with voters early on, and was far ahead of McCain's team in the game.
"The appeal to young people, getting himself known and talked about on social networking websites, activating support online and taking that activity offline by getting people to hold community events. These aspects were very, very developed at the start of Obama's campaign," Mitchell, deputy director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, told AFP.
"McCain is trying to close the gap now, but it's a little late in the game," she added.
On YouTube, the online video-sharing site, 11 times more people had tuned into the official Obama channel last month than the McCain equivalent.