Week 10: Cody Patton

The Herrnson article focused on how high level campaigns first used the Internet, but it has moved on to low-level campaigns as well. Herrnson’s hypothesis was that it is more expensive to create a website that is interactive rather than simply brochureware, but the cost is still low compared to TV, radio, and mail. This will make more lower level campaigns use interactive internet tools. To test this hypothesis he asked state legislatures in 2002 by asking if they were using a website among other questions. He found that only 40 percent used websites, and newer candidates were more likely to use websites than veteran politicians. This could be due to the fact that veteran politicians did not want to change how their campaigns operate. One problem I have with this study is that it was conducted based on 2002 elections, and as we know many things regarding the internet have changed in the past nine years.

The Nielson article focuses on which internet tools are most effective in getting citizens to vote. He argues that getting citizens to vote happens by using email and search engines rather than new interactive Internet tools. Email and search engines are great tools for seeking potential voters that aren’t already involved. The interactive websites may be good for donation, but they don’t necessarily get potential voters to vote. He does believe that the internet has mobilizing potential, but they are not as effective as they could become. We saw how the Dean campaign was successful at getting voters active through their website, but this did not translate into more votes. Once again this goes back to the question about tactical versus strategic success. I believe that both types of internet tools are important in a campaign. Campaigns must target new voters through email and search engines, and also keep supporters engaged and information about the campaign readily available.

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