Essay Effects of the Internet on US Presidential Elections

Essay Effects of the Internet on US Presidential Elections

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Politicians are always looking for ways to connect with the electorate. The rise of the internet not only allows for distribution of campaign ideas but new ways of voter feedback that was previously unavailable including online fund-raising, and voter mobilization. The internet has the ability to shape the political landscape.
The internet was first used to a limited extent during the 1992 election by the Clinton campaign using email, bulletin boards and discussion groups(Wagner, & Gainous, 2009). “The discussion group 'alt.politics.Clinton' received approximately 800 postings a day at the height of the campaign”(Wagner, & Gainous, 2009). The internet first became important in the 1996 election with each major candidate running for president created their own website(Johnson, Braima, & Sothirajah, 1999). These websites have changed from basic information sites “brochure-ware” to large-scale feedback based fund-raising enterprises(Trammell, Williams, Postelnicu, & Landreville, 2006). These changes have mirrored the advancement and sophistication of the internet itself. Much like the internet, online campaigning has moved from novelty to necessity; This is true at the national level as well as the local level. A Pew Research Center study showed that during the “2008 election 74% of internet users went online to take part in, or get news and information about the campaign, representing 55% of the entire adult population” (Smith 2009); This use is expected to grow into the future. This study used telephone interviews conducted November 20 to December 4, 2008 among a sample of 2,254 adults, 18 and older. The sample used a random digit sample from telephone exchanges in the continental United States.
Fund-raising is the...

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...ternet & American Life Project. Retrieved from

Trammell, K.D., Williams, A.P., Postelnicu, M., & Landreville, K.D. (2006). Evolution of online campaigning: Increasing interactivity in candidate web sites and blogs through text and technical features. Mass Communication & Society, 9(1), 21-44.

Xenos, M., & Moy, P. (2007). Direct and differential effects of the internet on political and civic engagement. Journal of Communication, 57(4), 704-718.

Wagner, K.M., & Gainous, J. (2009). Electronic grassroots: Does online campaigning work?. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 15(4), 502-520.

Wattal, S., Schuff., D., Mandviwalla, M., & Williams, C.B. (2010). Web 2.0 and politics: The 2008 U.S. presidential election and an e-politics research agenda. MIS Quarterly, 34(4), 669-688.

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