Keywords

Internet politics online campaign

Abstract

The past eight years have seen a great increase in Internet usage in American culture and politics. It would seem that, in our digital age, the Internet has exercised strong effects on political behavior and even on legislators. This thesis explores the variety and intensity of these effects, finding them to be substantial and growing, although not yet robust. The main influences the net has exerted on American politics take place predominantly within two areas: political campaigns and online political interest groups. Activists are certainly using the Internet for political causes, but this sort of Internet usage is really just an extension of previous activism. The Internet does not create new habits; it simply offers a more convenient method of reading the news, communicating to others, or performing other activities we have already been inclined to perform. Even those Internet users who access political web sites are shown preeminently to be those who have otherwise accessed political information in other ways such as newspapers or televised news. So far the Internet has made campaign donations easier for people who are comfortable surfing the World Wide Web. But there is little evidence to show that these people would not have otherwise donated to the campaign by more traditional methods. The Internet has made political activism easier, but people who are not politically active will not suddenly change simply because the Internet offers itself as an expedient, inexpensive tool. We have seen, however, with groups like MoveOn.org, that activists are rallying, communicating, and demonstrating more efficiently than ever before. The political parties or groups that can most effectively use the Internet to mobilize voters and affect public opinion will greatly benefit themselves.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2004

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Pollock, Philip

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0000140

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0000140

Language

English

Release Date

August 2004

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Subjects

Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2004; it will then be open access.

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