Younger voters are keen to talk to parties online
Political parties are failing in their efforts to use the internet to campaign, a survey has suggested.
Carried out by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts it shows a gap between what voters want and what they get from the parties.
Of those questioned, 79% could not recall any material - adverts, e-mails or websites - that had been prepared for the internet by the main parties.
Despite this, 40% said they wanted more chance to interact with parties online.
The number of those keen to engage online rises to 60%, found the survey, among 18-24 year-olds, who are more likely to be on the web.
It also found that 25% of voters were unimpressed with the way political parties use the internet.
"Although its being talked of as a 'digital election', political parties are falling short in delivering what voters want online," said Jonathan Kestenbaum, Nesta chief executive.
"Currently, they are using tactical measures such as buying Google AdWords to raise brand awareness but the internet provides the means to have a much more dynamic dialogue with voters," he added.
Nesta recommended that parties do more than just use the internet to do top-down campaigning. Instead, it said, they should exploit the web's ability to talk to people to find out their thoughts on key issues.
Given the main parties' investment in using the internet to rally activists, Nesta said it should be straightforward to employ web tools to get a better sense of what voters are concerned about.
"So far we've seen a triumph of superficial tactics over genuine engagement and voters aren't falling for it," said Mr Kestenbaum.
Not only do voters want more dialogue online, found the survey of 2550 people, but many want the ability to vote online too. Of those who could vote in the last election but did not do so, 44% said they would cast a vote if they could do it online.