The presidential election is to be dominated by social networking, it has been claimed.

Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at internet commentator eMarketer, notes that each candidate has a social networking profile.

She adds that the potential of social media sites for allowing voters to discuss their opinions could also have some bearing on the outcome of this year’s election.

“It’s a click of a button to express your political viewpoint in a public social networking environment,” Ms Williamson explains.

“It may be as small as giving a political affiliation in your profile or as big as supporting a specific candidate.”

The eMarketer report cites research by the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future, which surveyed online users to find how the internet has influenced their political views.

More than half (59 per cent) agreed that their interest and understanding of politics has been enhanced by the internet.

Key areas of focus for Ms Williamson include social networking and advertising online to demographic groups such as young people and women, eMarketer states.