Ohio 2006 Campaign Websites: Blackwell vs. Strickland

Posted Oct 14, 2006
Last Updated Oct 15, 2006
If Saturday Night Live were local, I guarantee they would have parodied the 2006 Ohio Gubernatorial Debates.

Announcer: This question is from Joe Whogivesacrap from the Cincinnati Post.

Joe: Secretary Blackwell, Job creation is very important to us in Cincinnati. How are you planning on creating jobs in urban centers?

Blackwell: Ted Strickland couldn’t create a job if he owned a hardware store. I’ve been to his district, and half of the people there are unemployed, especially those under 16 years of age.

Announcer: Thank you, Rep. Strickland, your response?

Strickland: I think jobs are important. We need to change the way we do things about jobs. We really need change, and that’s what I’ll do is change things about jobs.

Blackwell: Strickland couldn’t change a light bulb if it was his job to change light bulbs. Roy Rodgers.

Announcer: Mary Idiot from the Cleveland Plain Dealer has a question for Rep. Strickland.

Mary: Thank you. How would you reform Ohio health care to guarantee that all citizens can be treated?

Strickland: I would change things about health care. I think that polls have shown that Ohioan are fed up with the current system and demand change. Voting for me is voting for change.

Blackwell: Strickland’s mom needs change.

Strickland: If you elect me, I guarantee that I will change my mother. Change Change Change Change Change.

I’ve been visiting the websites of both candidates, and found that the way they debate it very similar to the way they maintain their website. Google provides some simple statistics.

Volume:
At the time of this writing, www.tedstrickland.com has 462 pages while www.kenblackwell.com has 1,140. Does Ken Blackwell just have more to say? I haven’t read every page on both sites, but from the hours I’ve spent reading, it seems that he does. Strickland’s articles tend to be vauge when it comes to what policies he would implement for Education, Jobs, and Healthcare. He definantly wants to change them, but he doesn’t give that much information about how. Blackwell, on the other hand, has some specific plans for each. However, these plans, in my opinion, border on crazy.

Mud:
Searching for “Blackwell” on www.tedstrickland.com gets 127 pages, or 27%. Looking at the top 20 results 10 of then were attacks on Blackwell’s character or other mud slinging, 6 were attacks on a specific Blackwell policy, and 4 were pages that just had Blackwell’s name (such as poll results). Searching for “Strickland” on www.kenblackwell.com yields 427 pages, or 37%. On the top 20, 17 were mud and 3 were policy. I will clarify that I think that attacks on past voting records are mud, because they have very little to do with current policy, and many of both sides mud articles were about this. Strangely, 34 of the mud pages on www.kenblackwell.com bring up that Strickland is a “former prison psychologist.” I am yet to figure out why this is relevant, and why Blackwell thinks that this should be viewed as a character flaw.

Design:
I know that this has nothing really to do with the election, but I am a web designer and I must point out that Strickland’s site loads quicker, uses informative page titles, and generates no validation errors. Blackwell’s site has validation errors, is slow, uses the same title for each page, and had video that downloads and plays without asking. Neither site is really designed with accessibility in mind, but Strickland’s was a bit more understandable in the text-to-speech browser. I also thought that Strickland’s site was slightly easier to navigate.

In the end, if I had to choose which candidate had a better website, Blackwell would win by a nose. Content is king, and although the site design is poor, Blackwell has more specific content about his policies. My biggest complaint would be the tremendous mount of mud on his site. I go to www.kenblackwell.com to learn about Blackwell, so shut up about Strickland. Shame on you Mr. Blackwell.

Who will I vote for? Well the choice seems to be between specific policies that I disagree with and vague plans for “change.” It’s a tough choice, but I think I may take my chances with change.

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