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.