Posts Tagged ‘Study’
A growing number of political parties and candidates contesting in contemporary campaigns are including a blog in their overall campaign strategy. As the number of blogs has skyrocketed and the political grassroots movements have taken to the Internet, political parties and candidates have shown their interest in the new medium by slowly reaching out to the new segment of voters that make up the blogosphere. The question is: Can campaigning via blogs help politicians shape public opinion and impact voting behaviour?
This paper examines how political parties and candidates use the blog as an electioneering instrument in political campaigns and considers how the use of blogs can affect the outcome of an election. By evaluating existing literature on the topic and actively engaging with political blog communities, the author questions whether a blog can play an integral role in securing a party’s or candidate’s victory in an election, and reviews ways to measure the impact of blogs on an election outcome.
Data retrieved by the current study strongly suggests that a campaign, in some cases, can successfully exploit the presence of the web and community blogs, and in doing so, even impact the outcome of a specific election race. The study supports findings by existing scholars that there are aspects of blogging that can help politicians improve their campaign, influence the political agenda and affect the direction of a particular election race. However, so far few campaigns have embraced the full potential of blogs.
The paper argues that current literature has not yet managed to develop proper methods to measure and identify how electioneering via blogs impacts voter decisions directly. Further research therefore needs to thoroughly explore the aspects that make blogs a useful electioneering tool, test the medium’s ability to swing voters and systematically test how audiences value the information they retrieve from the medium compared to the information they retrieve from traditional mainstream media.
As many of you may or may not know, BlogCampaigning was originally created almost a year ago as part of Espen Skoland’s thesis on politics and blogging for his Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications (Honours) at Griffith University, Australia.
This site has served as a way for Espen to interact with the online community as he developed his thoughts on the topic of blogs and political campaigning. While it has since grown to include my view points on the PR industry, Web 2.0, and other miscellany as well as the video game theory of Jens, and the work of a few other contributors, the essential goal of the site has remained the same.
Espen is currently putting the finishing touches on the thesis, and he will be making it available online both as a pdf and as a series of posts her on BlogCampaigning.
We are planning on posting the thesis in reverse order (with the last part of the paper posted chronologically first, the first section of the paper published chronologically last). This will, it will show up in the right order when read online and via a feed reader. If anyone has a better suggestion, we are very open to hearing it (please leave a comment, or e-mail me).
As the BlogCampaigning site manager, I’m very excited about this, because I think that this is the first time that a major academic paper has been published in this manner. If anyone wants to prove me wrong on this point, I’ll buy them a drink if they come to the Toronto area.
This won’t be the end of BlogCampaigning, either. Jens, Espen, and I have discussed how much we enjoy working on the site that we want it go on.
So thank you for checking us out now and then, and we hope you continue to do so even after this online publication of Espen’s thesis.
-Parker, BlogCampaigning Site Manager
I just located another study confirming the growing impact that the Internet has on voter decisions.
A Performic survey released in February found that 42 percent of Americans say the Internet will pay an important role in deciding who they will vote for in the upcoming presidential election.
In a press release revealing the results of the survey, Performic states:
“As the 2008 presidential candidates hit the campaign trail, we were curious to find out how Americans plan to learn about their choices for our next president. We suspected that as the public continues to rely on the Internet as an important information source, people will seek political information via search engines in a manner similar to the way that they already search for information regarding consumer purchases, meaning that after they first hear about a candidate or issue, they will conduct broad searches to gather information and then narrow down the candidates and issues until they ultimately reach a decision,” said Stuart Frankel, president of Performics.
“With 42 percent of Americans saying the Internet will play an important role in deciding who to vote for in the 2008 election, there is a large opportunity to leverage search engine marketing and optimization as a strategy for political campaigning.”
The study found that of those who visit a candidate’s website, 72 percent say they are primarily looking for the candidate’s stance on specific issues, 16 percent say they are looking for the candidate’s voting record, 6 percent say they are looking for what others say about the candidate and 4 percent say they are looking for which organizations have endorsed the candidate.
Not surprisingly the survey confirms that television news, talk shows, local and national newspapers, and news radio are still the primary means for political information for people researching campaigns and candidates.
Performic based their findings on a telephone survey conducted among a random sample of 1,014 adults.
(The survey was found via Blog the Campaign in 08)