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After a self-assured John F. Kennedy bested a visibly shaky Richard Nixon in their famous 1960 debates, political television, it was said, would henceforth determine elections. Today, many claim the Internet will be the latest medium to revolutionize electoral politics. Candidates invest heavily in web and email campaigns to reach prospective voters, as well as to communicate with journalists, potential donors, and political activists. Do these efforts influence voters, expand democracy, increase the coverage of political issues, or mobilize a shrinking and apathetic electorate? Campaigning Online answers these questions by looking at how candidates present themselves online and how voters respond to their efforts-including whether voters learn from candidates' websites and whether voters' views are affected by what they see. Although the Internet will not lead to a revolution in democracy, it will, Bimber and Davis argue, have consequences: reinforcing messages, mobilizing activists, and strengthening partisans' views. Reporting on a wealth of new data drawn from national and state-wide surveys, laboratory experiments, interviews with campaign staff, and analysis of web sites themselves, Campaigning Online draws the most complete picture of the role of campaign websites in American elections to date.
The Internet is now a part of American democracy. A majority of Americans are online and many of them use the Internet to learn political information and to follow election campaigns. Candidates now invest heavily in Web and e-mail campaign communication tools in order to reach prospective voters, as well as to communicate with journalists, potential donors, and political activists. How are their efforts paying off? Are voters influenced by what they see on the Internet? Do they use online resources to learn about issues and candidates that mainstream media are not covering? Is the Internet empowering the shrinking electorate to return to the polls? Campaigning Online answers these questions with a close-up look at the dynamics of the 2000 election on the Internet. Examining how candidates present themselves online, and how voters respond to their efforts - including measures of whether they learn from candidates' web sites and whether their opinions are affected by what they see, the authors present the first systematic depiction of the role of campaign web sites in American elections. The authors paint a portrait of the voters' side and the candidates' side of campaigning on the Internet that has been unavailable so far. They report on a wealth of new data and evidence drawn from national and state-wide surveys, laboratory experiments, interviews with campaign staff, and analysis of web sites themselves.
As political engagement declines in Western democracies, the Internet has been held up as a promising site for citizen participation and engagement. This optimism has been fuelled by recent political events that seem to confirm the Internet's democratic potential. Barack Obama channelled the Internet's power for fundraising and voter mobilization in the 2009 U.S. election. Likewise, Iranian voters successfully used social media such as Twitter to organize protests of the country's 2009 presidential election. This paper presents a first look at how Canadian political parties are using and responding to online communication tools during elections campaigns. Specifically it examines the role of online communications tools in building and developing a campaign platform. Moreover, it discusses whether these activities represent a shift towards a strengthened democracy or are simply reflective of current political culture. The findings are based on data gathered through semi-structured interviews with political strategists involved in the 2008-09 federal, British Columbia provincial and Vancouver municipal elections. This study found that online communication during election campaigns has little influence on the shape of the policy platform. However, political parties have been quick to adopt new online communications platforms allowing them to market their candidates and policies. Moreover, the Internet has shaped traditional campaign functions allowing parties to recruit funds, voter information and volunteers online. Rather than fundamentally shifting the character of democracy in Canada, the current use of online communication tools seems to be defined by the existing political culture.
The politics of the internet has entered the social science mainstream. From debates about its impact on parties and election campaigns following momentous presidential contests in the United States, to concerns over international security, privacy and surveillance in the post-9/11, post-7/7 environment; from the rise of blogging as a threat to the traditional model of journalism, to controversies at the international level over how and if the internet should be governed by an entity such as the United Nations; from the new repertoires of collective action open to citizens, to the massive programs of public management reform taking place in the name of e-government, internet politics and policy are continually in the headlines. The Routledge Handbook of Internet Politics is a collection of over thirty chapters dealing with the most significant scholarly debates in this rapidly growing field of study. Organized in four broad sections: Institutions, Behavior, Identities, and Law and Policy, the Handbook summarizes and criticizes contemporary debates while pointing out new departures. A comprehensive set of resources, it provides linkages to established theories of media and politics, political communication, governance, deliberative democracy and social movements, all within an interdisciplinary context. The contributors form a strong international cast of established and junior scholars. This is the first publication of its kind in this field; a helpful companion to students and scholars of politics, international relations, communication studies and sociology.
Using theory and data, Gainous and Wagner illustrate how online social media is bypassing traditional media and creating new forums for the exchange of political information and campaigning.
Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age challenges popular claims about the democratizing effect of Digital Communication Technologies (DCTs).
This book is a cross-national analysis of the role of the internet in national electoral campaigns. It covers an array of electoral and party systems throughout the globe from parliamentary to presidential, party-based to candidate-oriented, multi-party to two-party, and stable party system to dynamic party system. It takes a look at three groups of nations with varying levels of Internet access_those where internet usage is common across demographic groups, those where usage has reached significant levels but not widespread penetration, and those where internet access is still limited to a small elite. Each chapter is a study of a particular nation, focusing on its electoral and party systems, the accessibility of the Internet to the population, the nature of candidate/party usage, and the effects of the internet on the conduct of campaigns. By reviewing the findings from these studies, Making a Difference draws conclusions about exactly how the internet influences electoral politics.

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