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Influence of Political Internet Campaigning on Voter Attitudes and Behaviors

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024158/00001

Material Information

Title: Influence of Political Internet Campaigning on Voter Attitudes and Behaviors
Physical Description: 1 online resource (57 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Warmington, Jennifer
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: attitude, behavior, campaigning, florida, gainesville, influence, internet, political, surveys, telephone, voter
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Political Internet campaigning is becoming increasingly popular in society. More and more candidates at all levels of government have Web sites and are reaching out to voters both in the traditional way of campaigning and through the Internet. By conducting telephone surveys of 200 voters in Gainesville, Florida, this study aimed to determine who is being reached by political Internet campaigning and who is not. Based on voting and campaign involvement, the different levels of respondent activeness were examined in order to determine who falls into the categories of latent, aware and active publics. In addition, respondent activeness levels were used in order to determine what types of publics receive political and campaign information from traditional media, family members, friends and coworkers.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennifer Warmington.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Kiousis, Spiro K.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024158:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024158/00001

Material Information

Title: Influence of Political Internet Campaigning on Voter Attitudes and Behaviors
Physical Description: 1 online resource (57 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Warmington, Jennifer
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: attitude, behavior, campaigning, florida, gainesville, influence, internet, political, surveys, telephone, voter
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Political Internet campaigning is becoming increasingly popular in society. More and more candidates at all levels of government have Web sites and are reaching out to voters both in the traditional way of campaigning and through the Internet. By conducting telephone surveys of 200 voters in Gainesville, Florida, this study aimed to determine who is being reached by political Internet campaigning and who is not. Based on voting and campaign involvement, the different levels of respondent activeness were examined in order to determine who falls into the categories of latent, aware and active publics. In addition, respondent activeness levels were used in order to determine what types of publics receive political and campaign information from traditional media, family members, friends and coworkers.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennifer Warmington.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Kiousis, Spiro K.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024158:00001


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1 INFLUENCE OF POLITICAL INTERNET CAMPAIGNING ON VOTER ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS By JENNIFER C. WARMINGTON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009

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2 2009 Jennifer C. Warmington

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3 To Charlotte, Jack, Leo, Max, Lila, Sam and Anni e. Thank you for keeping life interesting.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank Mom, Dad, Jessica, Ted, and Catherin e for all of their lo ve and support through the countless hours of work that went into this thesis writing project. I thank them for assuring me that it was all going to work out and that I re ally knew what I was doing even if I didnt think I did. I especially thank my parents for supporti ng me both financially and emotionally on this graduate school adventure. I thank my friends in the masters program who made classes and graduate school fun. I thank everyone who helped make calls : even if they only got one response, that was one less I had to get. I want to thank my thesis committee chair, Dr. Kiousis; and thesis committee, Dr. Kaid and Dr. Mitrook, for helping me along and pointing me in the right direction when I didnt know where to start. I also thank them for adjusting the number of survey respon ses I needed so that I could finish this thes is in a timely manner.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................7 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............8 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. ..9 2 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................................11 Situational Theory of Publics ................................................................................................. 11 General Internet Use .......................................................................................................... .....12 Political Internet Use ........................................................................................................ ......13 Candidate Internet Use ........................................................................................................ ...15 Internets Contribu tion to Politics ..........................................................................................17 Research Questions ............................................................................................................ .....20 3 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................................. 21 Survey Responses ...................................................................................................................22 Data Analysis ..........................................................................................................................23 4 RESULTS ....................................................................................................................... ........26 Demographic Overview .......................................................................................................... 26 Political Orientations of the Respondents ...............................................................................26 Traditional Media Usage ....................................................................................................... .27 Internet Usage .........................................................................................................................27 Hypotheses and Research Question ........................................................................................ 28 Post Hoc Analysis ...................................................................................................................28 Traditional Media ............................................................................................................ 29 Family, Friends and Coworkers ......................................................................................29 Voting ........................................................................................................................ ......30 5 DISCUSSION .................................................................................................................... .....39 Predictors of Internet Use for Political or Campaign Information ......................................... 39 Limitations of the Study ...................................................................................................... ...41 6 RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................................ 45 APPENDIX: SURVEY INSTRUMENT .......................................................................................48

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6 LIST OF REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................55 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................57

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Distribution percentages .................................................................................................. ..25 3-2 Cronbachs Alpha scores ................................................................................................... 25 4-1 Demographic overview ...................................................................................................... 31 4-3 Voting .................................................................................................................... ............34 4-5 Campaign involvement ...................................................................................................... 36 4-6 Traditiona l m edia use ..................................................................................................... ....37 4-7 Internet use for political or cam paign information ............................................................ 38 5-1 Determination of public types ............................................................................................ 44

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8 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Mast er of Arts in Mass Communication INFLUENCE OF POLITICAL INTERNET CAMPAIGNING ON VOTER ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS By Jennifer C. Warmington May 2009 Chair: Spiro Kiousis Major: Mass Communication Political Internet campaigni ng is becoming increasingly popul ar in society. More and more candidates at all levels of government have Web sites and are reaching out to voters both in the traditional way of campaigning and through the Internet. By conducting telephone surveys of 200 voters in Gainesville, Florida, this st udy aimed to determine who is being reached by political Internet campaigning and who is not. Based on voting and campaign involvement, the different levels of respondent activeness were ex amined in order to determine who falls into the categories of latent, aware and active publics. In addition, respondent ac tiveness levels were used in order to determine what types of public s receive political and cam paign information from traditional media, family members, friends and coworkers.

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9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Internet is more prevalent in society now than ever before. More and more people have access to the Internet a nd use it to communicate, shop, research, and for many other purposes. Because it is gaining popularity in soci ety, politicians are now tu rning to the Internet to campaign, raise money, recruit volunteers, and k eep in touch with their constituents (Kerbel and Bloom, 2005). In addition to door-to-door campaigning, candidates are creating their own Web sites which voters can access anytime day or ni ght. The Internet is also a way for everyday people to have their voices heard. By giving ever yone the ability to crea te Web sites in support of their favorite candidate, th e political power of large organizations, such as lobbying groups and national corporations, is reduced. The in crease of Web sites does add to the amount of information on the Internet, ther efore people who use the Internet for political information are forced to sort through large amounts of incorrect information in order to find correct information (Johnson and Kaye, 2003b). The Internet was first used for political campaigns in 1994. During the 1992 presidential campaign, people used the Internet to find info rmation the traditional media did not report (McKeown and Plowman, 1999). During this campai gn, the Internet was s till a relatively new medium, but it became the major nontraditional medium used in the campaign. During the 1996 presidential campaign, candidates created th eir own Web sites to disseminate campaign information (Kenski and Stroud, 2006). One of the first political candidate s to make significant use of the Internet was Howard Dean, with his blog, Blog for America. His blog not only allowed voters to discuss the candidates and the campaign, but also served as a way for Howard Dean to raise money for his campaign. Once Blog for America was started, Howard Deans donations significantly increased (Kerbel and Bloom, 2005).

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10 The Internet also allows ev eryday people to have their voice heard. Instead of the usual political players buying advertising space on tele vision and in newspape rs, people can create their own Web sites in support of the candidate they like the most. Because many different voices can be heard on the Internet, the amount of information about politics on the Internet is substantial. The ability of people to sort out the true political information from the false may have an impact on their political beliefs and their political behavior s (Johnson and Kaye, 2003b). The purpose of this study was to examine the influences of political Internet campaigning on voter attitudes and behavior. This study looke d at the characteristics of people who use the Internet for political information and those w ho do not. By doing this, the study gained a sense of what types of constituents are being reached by political Internet campaigning. This study also aimed to determine whether or not people w ho use the Internet for political campaigning are more likely to vote than those who do not. In ad dition, this study determ ined if people who use the Internet for political information are more likely to be involved in campaigns, such as donating money or volunteering to help with the campaign, or if they are just observers of the campaign and use the Internet as their primary source of campaign news.

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11 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Situational Theory of Publics According to the situational theory of publics, there are three variables which determine a persons perception of an issue and explain wh en people will communicate about an issue (Grunig, 1982). The three variab les are: problem recognition, level of involvement, and constraint recognition (Grunig, 1982, p. 167). Problem recognition, is defined as whether a person has a need for information and stops to think about an issue (Grunig, 1982, p. 167). The second variable, level of i nvolvement, is defined as whe ther the person connects himself with the issue and constraint recognition is whether the person thinks he can exert any personal control that might help to resolve th e issue (Grunig, 1982, p. 167). The two types of communication behavior defined by Grunig (1982) are: information seeking and information processing, and when people will engage in these behaviors is determined by the three variables (p. 167). The situational theory of pub lics also defines three types of publics based on their levels of problem recognition, involvement and constrai nt recognition (Gruni g, 1982). An active public is a group that acts to do something about that situation, which means they have high levels of problem recognition and involvement and low constraint r ecognition, (Grunig, 1982, p. 169). An aware public is a group that recognizes a problem but has not acted, and a latent public is a group in an inde terminate situation that does not recognize the situation as problematic (Grunig, 1982, p. 169). The situational theory of pub lics can be used to help dete rmine who visits candidate Web sites and who does not. Active publics will visit candidate Web sites because they are actively looking for information about the campaign and ca ndidates. Aware publics may or may not visit

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12 candidate Web sites based on how involved they are in the campaign and how actively they are seeking campaign information. Latent publics w ill not visit candidate Web sites because they are not actively seeking informati on. The challenge for candidates is to turn awar e publics into active publics so they will be involved in the campaign and ultimately end up going to vote. While candidates are convincing aware publics to b ecome more active, they must also convince them that they are the ca ndidate they should vote for (McKeown and Plowman, 1999). General Internet Use As of early 2008, 72.5 % of the United States population uses the Internet (United States of America: Internet usage and broadband usage report, 2008). The main use of the Internet is entertainment, but other uses include seeking in formation, guidance, and financial information. Age, gender, income, and education are determini ng factors in who goes online. Internet users tend to be younger, more educated, and have a hi gher income. Men tend to use the Internet for more serious activities, such as looking up news, financial inform ation, and for trading stocks. Women tend to use the Internet for less serious activities, such as looking up health information, looking for jobs, and playing games (Johnson and Kaye, 2003a). The resources to get information online are mu ch different than the resources needed to get information from traditional media sources, su ch as television or newspapers. The amount of free time a person has is not an issue because the Internet has the ability to allow more people with less free time to get information. The nature of the Internet is that it is quick and accessible via a computer at work or at home. For a pers on who has only a half an hour of free time each day, they can turn on their computer and find inform ation faster than if they were to look through a newspaper (Best and Krueger, 2005). A persons physical resources also have an impact on their ability to find information online. People who have faster Internet conne ctions, such as broadband, will be more likely to

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13 look for information online because the Internet connection delivers the information faster. A slow Internet connection requires the person to wait for Web sites to load, which is both frustrating and time consuming. Whether or not someone has an Internet connection at home is also a factor because people tend to spend more time on the Internet looking up things of particular interest to them while they are at home. During the work da y, Internet use may be restricted to business purposes, whereas at home, many people surf the Inte rnet to pass time. Having an Internet connection at home also pr ovides flexibility to people who may not have much time to use the Internet to look up information during the work day (Best and Krueger, 2005). Political Internet Use Of Americans who use the Internet, 35% are po litically interested and use the Internet to get information about politics and political i ssues, and 43% of young voters decided whom to vote for based on campaign news on the Internet (Kaid, 2003). The general characteristics of people who use the Internet for political information are: an interest in politics, a belief they can change things politically and socially, frequent voting, becoming more involved in politics since beginning to use the Internet, a nd a lack of trust in the govern ment. People who are looking to change things both politically and socially now have a greater ability to do so because the Internet can take some power away from lobbyists, large corporations, and special interest groups by allowing everyday people to obtain and di sseminate information. The Internet also connects voters and representatives and facilitates political disc ussion, which increases political efficacy and political knowledge. Everyday people are at a disadvantage when using the Internet to disseminate their own information because they do not always have access to all of the latest technology which helps to create Web sites, like software that produces sophisticated Web site graphics. Because of this, many lobbyists, larg e corporations, and special interest groups will

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14 tend to have more professional l ooking Web sites, which may attract more visitors than the Web sites made by everyday people (Johnson and Kaye, 2003b). During the 2000 presidential election, polit ical information on the Internet greatly increased. Candidates had their own Web sites with information about their issue positions, donation requests, and statement rebuttals. Onli ne chat rooms had debates and discussions about the candidates and the election (Tolbert and McNeal, 2001, p. 8). The C-SPAN and CNN Web sites had audio of candidate speeches and pictures of conventions from webcams (Tolbert and McNeal, 2001). The Internet also makes candidate research easier. Someone can r ead a candidates Web site to find out their opinion on an issue, and then a few clicks later, th ey can find out the other candidates opinion on the same issue. People who use the Internet for political information are very interested in finding issues that interest or pertain to th em. Web-savvy citizens want the capacity to search and navigate a Web site to fi nd those issues and ideas of special interest (Anderson and Cornfield, 2003). While people can find information of interest easier, there is an abundance of information on the Internet, some of which is false. This false information may cause people to come to incorrect conclusions about candidates. The abu ndance of information could also lead to an information overload, which may cause people to stop looking for information altogether because they do not know which information is true and which is false. Although the Internet allows constituents to contact elected officials via e-mail, the number of citizens who contact politicians through e-mail, telephone, and mail are the same. Resource theory is one way to describe why some people use the Internet for political communication and why others do not. According to resource theory, if all peoples motivations

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15 are equal, Internet use for political or campa ign information will vary by amount of resources (Best and Krueger, 2005). Candidate Internet Use The Internet has given politicians a new way to keep in touch with their constituents. It allows them to poll their constitu ents, have town hall meetings over the Internet so they can hear their opinions, read e-mails from their constituen ts, and in general repres ent them better (Johnson and Kaye, 2003b). When campaigning, the Internet allows candidates to control their message and persuade people to vote for them, raise mone y, recruit volunteers, and get people involved in the campaign (Park and Choi, 2002). Candidates are using the Internet more to raise money, recruit volunt eers, and get people involved in the campaign (Park and Choi, 2002), so their Web sites have become more sophisticated (Tolbert and McNeal, 2003, p. 177). This is done by giving voters the opportunity to interact with candidates through their Web sites via e-mail, real time question and answer sessions, or Town Hall meeting links (Park and Choi, 2002, p. 39). While many voters do not feel they have interacted with the candidates through these options, they do feel more involved in the campaign and trust a can didate more through Web sites that can be personalized (Park and Choi, 2002, p. 32). Pers onalized Web sites contain messages that are tailored to specific audiences in different states, and allow voters to look up issues that are of interest to them (Park and Choi, 2002, p. 39). Vo ters tend to like Web sites that contain audio and video clips because they make the Web sites more fun, and pictures which allow voters to gain additional information about candidates ju st by looking at the pict ure (Park and Choi, 2002, p. 40). Challengers in elections are more likely to use the Internet than incumbents because the incumbents are better known. Ch allengers also tend to have smaller budgets, which makes the

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16 Internet a cost-effective way to reach voters a nd get volunteers for their campaign (Herrnson, et al., 2007). Due to larger budgets, incumbents will be able to buy newspaper and television advertisements, whereas the challenger s may not be able to afford any. How a candidate uses the Internet really depe nds on their constituents and whether or not they use the Internet. Some factors that affect candidate Internet use are the demographics of their constituents, the characteristics of the candidate, structural variables of the campaign, such as how much campaign money the candidate has, and strategic variables of the campaign, such as the best medium to use to reach their cons tituents. Candidates with more African-American or senior citizen constituents are less likely to have Web s ites, and candidates with more educated constituents are more likely to have Web sites (Herrnson, et al., 2007). The Internet is often used to reach young voters, many of whom ar e less interested and less involved in politics now, but will be an important group later (Park and Choi, 2002). Blogs have been shown to give people a ne w way to participate in politics by increasing civic participation, volunteer mobilization, and civic engageme nt. In the 2004 presidential election, Howard Dean used a blog. Blog for America was started as a campaign blog for Howard Dean and covered many campaign topics a nd contained links to other Web sites. Blog for America had a group of regular users, but mo st of the blog posts were made by a team of people at Dean for America. Blog for America was al so made to be highly interactive in order to encourage people to give feedback. About 82 % of all posts on Blog for America were made by the Dean for America team. About 9 % of all posts were press releases about policy positions or statements by Dean at events, 5 % were reprin ts or excerpts from the media, and 2 % were reposts from non-campaign blogs or posts made by Dean or his campaign manager (Kerbel and Bloom, 2005). Some posts contai ned video or picture links, such as the travelogue, which

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17 showed Dean during everyday life so people co uld connect with him (Kerbel and Bloom, 2005, p.18). As the number of blog posts on Blog for America rose, the number of people who were subscribers of Deans e-mails grew. Blog for America was soon considered as a community, and community was a popular subject for posts. Othe r presidential candidate s had blogs, but they were not nearly as successful as Bl og for America (Kerbel and Bloom, 2005). Two other Web sites helped Howard Deans campaign. Moveon.org had 3 million members and helped to gather support against the Iraq war. Since Dean di d not support the Iraq war, many of the 3 million members supported Dean. Meetup.com served to organize and coordinate grassroot political ac tivists who would stage rallies and protests (2005). Some of the rallies organized through this Web site benefited Dean (Best and Krueger, 2005). Internets Contribution to Politics The Internet has four advantages over traditional media (P ark and Choi, 2002), so it has a greater ability to contribute to more of a public interest in pol itics and the government (Kenski and Stroud, 2006). The four advantages are the low cost of disseminating information over the Internet, the cost of reaching more people over th e Internet does not increase like it does in traditional media, the Internet is interactive, and there are already politically interested communities on the Internet. In addition, Web sites can be accessed anytime and two-way communication with voters is possible (Park and Choi, 2002). People with Internet access are more exposed to political information online and due to the interactive nature of the Internet, they can look deeper into topics that interest them (Kenski and Stroud, 2006). On any given topi c, there are thousands of Web sites that address the topic, both partisan and non-partisan (Dahlgren, 2005). The Internet also al lows people to gain knowledge from each other and talk about their concerns about politics through chat rooms and

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18 e-mail. Due to the encouragement to express th emselves online, people are more inclined to express themselves off the Intern et, which translates into civi c engagement (Shah, et al., 2005). People tend to use the Internet for political information because they are dissatisfied with traditional media. The Internet has the abi lity to fill the gap in campaign coverage left by the traditional media. During the 2000 Republic an and Democratic National Conventions, the big three television networks, NBC, CBS, a nd ABC, devoted less time to covering the conventions and more time on preseason football, so more people turned to the Internet and cable television networks for convention c overage (Tolbert and McNeal, 2003). Although the Internet encourages civic engageme nt, it does not have an effect of political cynicism. A study was conducted which exposed peopl e to political advertisements on television and on the Internet. Those who watched the pol itical advertisements on the Internet rated the candidates more favorably, but those who watche d the political advertisements on television were less cynical about polit ics in general (Kaid, 2003). The Internet has the ability to narrow the gap between the people who are connected to politics and those who are not. Due to current technology, the face-to-face communication that used to take place in political campaigns has d ecreased, but the Internet gives people political interaction which somewhat replicates traditio nal face-to-face communica tion. National political organizations contact the majority of voters throu gh the Internet because it is cost effective and saves time. While the number of non-traditional political organiza tions that use the Internet to contact voters is low, that number is rising (Tolbert and McNeal, 2001). True public opinion is formed through disc ussion and debate and the Internet provides another way for people to discuss politics (Pri ce and Cappella, 2002, p. 304). Online political discussions may not be as effective as face-to -face discussions, but participation in online

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19 political discussion does result in participants learning more about other peoples opinions about different issues, which helps people to make mo re informed decisions about political issues. People who tend to participate in political discus sions online have a high level of interpersonal trust, they participate in politic s, they tend to discuss politics mo re often than other people, and they participate in their comm unity (Price and Cappella, 2002). Voters are given the opportunity to interact with candidates through their Web sites via email, real time question and answer sessions, or Town Hall meeting links (Park and Choi, 2002, p. 39). While many voters do not feel they have interacted with the candidates through these options, they do feel more involved in the campaign and trust a candidate more through Web sites that can be pers onalized (Park and Choi, 2002, p. 39). Personalized Web sites allow voters to look up issues which are of inte rest to them and contain messages which are tailored to specific audiences in different states (Park and Choi, 2002, p. 39). Voters tend to like Web sites which contain audio and video clips and pictures which allow them to gain additional information about candidates through nonverbal cues (Park and Choi, 2002, p. 40). In general, the Internet increases the ch ances of people voting in elections by 20 %. Among white females, there is an 86 % chance of a white female with Internet access voting, but only a 64 % chance of a white female without Internet access voting (Tolbert and McNeal, 2001). While the Internet tends to increase the number of voters in presidential elections, it may also be able to generate enough in terest in midterm elections to increase the voter turnout during those elections (Tolbert and McNeal, 2003). The Internet also has the potential to di scourage the gaining of political knowledge. Because the Internet allows people to pick a nd choose what they look at, people are given the opportunity to avoid political know ledge. For example, people w ho watch television news pick

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20 up some political knowledge even if they are not interested in politics because most people do not change the channel when politics is being covered. With the Internet, people have to actively seek out political information (P rior, 2001). The Internet also has the potential to cause the decline of political efficacy, knowledge, and pa rticipation because people who e-mail their elected officials may get discourag ed because it takes a long time to get an answer or there is no answer at all, and it is difficult to sort through all of the politic al information on the Internet to find the information that is correct (Kenski and Stroud, 2006). Research Questions Based on the above literature review, the researcher ma kes the following hypotheses and poses the following research question: H1: There will be a positive relationship betwee n voting and Internet use for political or campaign information. H2: There will be a negative relationship between age and Internet use for political or campaign information. H3: Active and aware publics will be more lik ely to use the Intern et for political or campaign information. H4: There will be a positive relationship betw een campaign involvement and Internet use for political or campaign information. RQ1: What are the characteristics of voter s being reached by political Internet campaigning?

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21 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Telephone surveys of voters in Gainesville, Flor ida, were used for this study because they are the most cost effective and efficient way to su rvey voters in Gainesville, Florida. In addition, telephone surveys are relatively in expensive and can include more in-depth questions (Wimmer and Dominick, 2006). The telepho ne surveys were somewhat difficult possibly because many companies conduct what they call survey research, when they are actually trying to sell a product, which causes many people to be hesitant to continue a conversat ion with anyone who calls and claims to be doing a telephone survey (Stacks, 2002). In addition, not everyone has a telephone, so people will automatically be excl uded from the sample (Wimmer and Dominick, 2006). Telephone surveys were conducted fr om February 10, 2008, to September 20, 2008. The telephone surveys asked questions about In ternet usage habits in general and Internet usage habits in regard to political information. Some questions asked on the survey were: How often do you use the Internet for political or campaign information? What type of Internet connection do you use primarily? People are very busy and do not always have a lot of time to vote. Did you have an opportunity to vote in the Fl orida presidential primary election on January 29, 2008? Do you plan on voting in the presid ential election in November 2008? An original sample size of 400 was chosen in order to have 95 % confidence interval (Stacks, 2002). This sample size was based on the population on Gainesville, Florida, which was 105,714 as of 2006 (Population finder, 2007). Due to time constraints, the total number of completed surveys needed was changed to 200. Th is sample size is not ideal because there are half as many responses, so it is not as representative of a sample of th e larger population. A larger sample size could have increased the genera lizibility of the results. This smaller sample size is somewhat generalizable to the population of Gainesville, Florida, because the survey

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22 results mirrored the census data in that the respon dents were mostly white, but the sample data also slightly mirrored the census data in terms of gender and political affiliation. These similarities should be kept in mind when interp reting the results of the study. Table 3-1 shows the distribution percentages of th e variables that are similar in both the survey and census data. The sampling frame was determined by the Greater Gainesville telephone book. The respondents were determined by using the Web site www.random.org and plus one random digit dialing. On an average page of the Greater Gainesville telephone book, there are three columns of 98 names, which is a total of 294 names on each page. The last page of the telephone book has three columns of 89 names, for a total of 267 names. Using the Random Sequence Generator on www.random.org, the first set of numbers that were entered were 105 to 450, which are the page numbers of the residential section of the telephone book. The first number generated was the page number a telephone numbe r was chosen from. Next, the numbers 1 to 294 were entered and the first number genera ted was the telephone number chosen from the page. For example, if the first number generated from the sequence 105 to 450 was 408, the first number chosen would be a name on page 408 of the telephone book. If the first number generated from the sequence 1 to 294 was 118, th en the telephone number chosen would be number 118 on page 408. After the first telephone number was generated, plus one random digit dialing was used to determine the rest of th e phone numbers. Plus one random digit dialing allowed for unlisted numbers to be reached as we ll as listed numbers, which helped to generate more accurate data. Survey Responses The number of surveys completed was 200. Of those 200 respondents, only 38 of them said they used the In ternet for political or campaign in formation. Telephone numbers which reached businesses were excluded from the sample. Each phone number was called back a

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23 maximum of three times before it was deemed no response. The response rate was computed as the number of completed interviews divided by the total number of eligible sample units (Groves and Kahn, 1979, p. 63). The response rate was 41 %. The sampling error is the standard deviation of the sampli ng distribution and was computed using the following equation: SE( p) = Z N pp )100( where p is the percentage of people who said they us e the Internet (78.5 %), N is the total sample size (200), and Z is the standard error at a 95 % confidence interv al (1.96) (Wimmer and Dominick, 2006, p. 104). The sampling error for this study was 5.7 %. Data Analysis The data was entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet before be ing transferred into SPSS 16.0 for data analysis. Pear son correlations were computed for all of the hypotheses in order to determine the relationships between vari ables. Pearson correlations were computed in order to determine the relationships between the variables in research question one. After all the statistical tests were run fo r the hypotheses and research que stion, a post hoc analysis was conducted to explore the relationships between traditional media usage and other variables. All voting questions on the survey were combined in order to create a single voting scale. The scale ranges from zero to six, depending on how many elections in which a respondent participates. For example, if a respondent voted in one election, their score on the scale was one. If a respondent voted in six el ections, their score was six. Al l respondents were given a score even if voting data was absent. In the event that a respondent was missing all voting data, they would not be given a score. If voting data was partially complete, a respondent was given a score equaling the sum of the vo ting data that was present.

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24 In addition, some questions in the Internet usage portion of the survey were combined in order to gain a more complete picture of Intern et use for political or campaign information. The survey questions that were paired were: H ow often do you look at Web sites you consider conservative for political or campaign informa tion? and How often do you look at Web sites you consider liberal for political or campaign information?; How often do you look at candidate Web sites for political or campaign information? and How often do you look at any activist group Web sites for po litical or campaign information?; and How often do you use online newspapers for political or campaign information? and How often do you use online magazines for political or campaign informatio n? All answers were summed in order to transform the six 5-point scales into three 10-point scales. In order to gain a more complete picture of the extent to which people are active publics, the three 5-point scales in the situational theory of publics section of th e survey were combined by summing the scores in order to create one 15-poi nt scale. Also, the tw o 5-point questions in the campaign participation portion of the survey were combined by summing the answers in order to create one 10-point scale. A Cronbachs Alpha was run on all combined scales to test for internal consistency. All combined scales have a Cronbach s Alpha score greater than .70, which is the minimum required score of intern al consistency (Morgan, Leech, Gloeckner and Barrett, 2007). Table 3-2 shows the Cr onbachs Alphas for the combined scales.

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25 Table 3-1. Distri bution percentages Variable Survey data (N = 200) Census data (N = 105,714) Female White Democrat 63.5 % 76.0 % 95.0 % 50.1 % 68.0 % 52.3 % U.S. Census Bureau. (2007). Population Finder. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SA FFPopulation? _event=Search&_name=gainesvi lle&_state=04000US12&_county=gainesvill e&_cityTown=gainesville&_zip=&_sse= on&_lang=en&pctxt=fph Table 3-2. Cronbach s Alpha scores Combined scale Cronbachs Alpha Voting ( N = 182) .80 Conservative and liberal Web site use ( N = 36) .81 Candidate and activist group Web site use ( N = 36) .83 Online newspaper and magazine use ( N = 36) .89 Extent to which peopl e are active publics ( N = 195) .83 Campaign involvement ( N = 48) .90

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26 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Demographic Overview The typical respondent was white, age 55 or over, female, had a bachelors degree, and had an income of $20,000 to $29,999 a year. Table 4-1 gives an overview of the demographics of respondents. Political Orientations of the Respondents Similar to the population of Gainesville, Flor ida, the majority of the respondents were Democrats. The most widely chosen political ideology was a three on a 5-point scale (34.5 %), which means the respondents felt their political ideology fell in the middle of very conservative and very liberal. Table 4-2 gives an overvie w of the political orient ations of respondents. Voting scores varied based on the type of election. Only 59 % of respondents said they voted in the Florida presidentia l primary election, but 84.5 % said they plan on voting in the presidential election. After the presidential election, voting numbers declined as the elections became more and more localized. When it came to elections for United States senators or congressmen, 74 % said they usually vote. Only 72.5 % of respondents vote in state elections, like elections for governor, state senators or state congressmen, 63 % vote in local elections, like for mayor, and 60 % vote in referendum or petiti on elections. Table 4-3 gives an overview of respondents voting habits. The mean score on the respondent activene ss scale was a 9.7, which means the majority of respondents were considered aware publics. Th e rest of the respondents were either latent publics (10.5 %) or active publics (42 %). Ta ble 4-4 gives an overview of respondents activeness.

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27 Most respondents (72 %) do not participate in political campai gns at all. This leaves 27 % of respondents that do part icipate in political campaigns, either through volunteering or donating money to candidates. Of the respondents that do participate in political campaigns, the mean score on the campaign involvement scale was 4.13, which means that they are somewhat involved in campaigns. Table 4-5 gives an overview of res pondents campaign involvement. Traditional Media Usage The mean score on the traditional media us age scale was 4.2, which means the majority of respondents receive political or campaign inform ation from traditional media quite often. In addition, the mean score on the scale which meas ured how often people re ceived political or campaign information from family members, friends or coworkers was 3.3, which means they sometimes receive this information from them. Table 4-6 gives an overview of respondents use of traditional media. Internet Usage In general, 78.5 % of respondents use the In ternet; 63.5 % use the In ternet at home, and 46 % use the Internet seven days a week. The average length of In ternet use at one time is 1.2 hours. The most popular Internet connection is DSL, with 34.5 % of respondents using it. Only 14 % of respondents use something other than a computer to go online. Of the 200 respondents, 38 (19 %), use the Inte rnet specifically l ooking for political or campaign information. Of those 38 respondents, 8.5 % use the Internet for political or campaign information one day a week. When asked to rank how often they look at conservative or liberal Web sites for political or campaign information, th e mean score was five on a 10-point scale. In addition, the mean score on the candidate and activist group Web site scale was 3.5, and the mean score on the online newspapers and magazines scale was 4.16. Table 4-7 gives an overview of respondents use of the Intern et for political or campaign information.

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28 The use of blogs was also measured and 39.5 % of people were familiar with blogs, but only 7 % looked at blogs for political or campa ign information. When it came to receiving emails about politics or campaign information, th e means scores were 2.7 for receiving e-mails from candidates, 2.8 for receiving e-mails from political parties, 2.7 for receiving e-mails from activist groups, and 2.5 for receiving e-mails from cu rrent public officials, all on a 5-point scale. Hypotheses and Research Question No statistically significan t results were found for the hypot heses, therefore all of the hypotheses were not supported. This lack of st atistical significance could be due to a small sample size. H1: There will be a positive relationship betwee n voting and Internet use for political or campaign information. The statistical results for H1 were: r (36) = .05, p = .78. H2: There will be a negative relationship between age and Internet use for political or campaign information. The statistical results for H2 were: r (36) = -.07, p = .69. H3: Active and aware publics will be more lik ely to use the Intern et for political or campaign information. The statistical results for H3 were: r (36) = .27, p = .12. H4: There will be a positive relationship betw een campaign involvement and Internet use for political or campaign information. The statistical results for H4 were: r (19) = .34, p = .16. RQ1: What are the characteristics of voter s being reached by political Internet campaigning? The main predictors of who w ill use the Internet for political or campaign information are voting ( r (156) = .29, p <.001) and respondent activeness (r (156) = .35, p <.001). Other predictors include how of ten people receive political or campaign information from family members, friends or coworkers ( r (104) = .28, p = .004) income ( r (132) = .24, p = .005) and campaign involvement ( r (49) = .36, p = .01). Post Hoc Analysis To provide additional variance, a post hoc analysis was run to explore other variables which were included in the study. According to previous research, the following variables are important to political communi cation: media use and interper sonal communication. This study

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29 examined these variables by asking survey questi ons about the frequency of media use and how often people received political or campaign information from people they knew. According to Palfrey and Poole, as the level of information increases, the probability of not voting declines (1987, p. 526). This means that the more informati on people have, the more likely they are to vote. This information can come from the media, family members, friends or coworkers. In addition, people who are older or posses higher le vels of education are more likely to vote (Glenn and Grimes, 1968). Traditional Media In the post hoc analysis, Pearson correlations were run in order to look at relationships with traditional media exposure. A statistically signifi cant correlation ( r (108) = .27, p = .004) was found between how often people receive political or campaign information from television, radio, magazines and newspapers, and how of ten people receive political or campaign information from family members, friends or coworkers. There was also a statistically significant correlation ( r (164) = .32, p < .001) between how often people receive political or campaign info rmation from traditional media and respondent activism, which is consistent wi th the situational theory of publics. In addition, there was a statistically significant link between traditional media use and age ( r (161) = .38, p < .001). Family, Friends and Coworkers Statistically significant correlations were found between how often people receive political or cam paign information from family members, friends or coworkers, and political ideology (r (123) = .22, p = .014) and respondent activeness (r (125) = .32, p < .001). These relationships were explored in order to the influences of receivi ng political or campaign information from family members, friends or co workers on political ideology and activeness. As

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30 shown above, there is a relationship which mean s people are influenced by people they know when it comes to deciding their political ideology and level of activeness in political campaigns. Respondent activeness has st atistically significan t correlations with several different variables: campaign involvement ( r (55) = .44, p = .001), income ( r (165) = .26, p = .001), age ( r (197) = .23, p = .001), education (r (193) = .21, p = .004), and political affiliation ( r (191) = -.19, p = .009). Voting Statistical correlations were found be tween voting and respondent activeness ( r (200) = .41, p < .001), which is consistent with the situational theory of publics, age (r (197) = .34, p < .001), income ( r (165) = .38, p < .001), education (r (193) = .31, p < .001), and ethnicity ( r (196) = -.17, p = .02).

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31 Table 4-1. Demographic overview Variable Percentage ( N = 200) Age 18 to 24 25 to 30 31 to 35 36 to 40 41 to 45 46 to 50 51 to 55 55+ No response 9.0 8.0 6.5 7.5 12.5 9.0 6.5 39.5 1.5 Gender Male Female 36.5 63.5 Education Less than High School High School graduate or GED Vocational or Technical Degree Associate Degree Some College Bachelors Degree Masters Degree Doctorate No response 6.0 22.0 4.5 6.0 19.5 21.5 10.5 6.5 3.5 Income Less than $20,000 $20,000 $29,999 $30,000 $39,999 $40,000 $49,999 $50,000 $59,999 $60,000 $69,999 $70,000 $79,999 $80,000 $89,999 $90,000 $99,999 More than $100,000 No response 13.0 14.5 14.0 8.5 10.0 7.0 3.5 4.0 1.0 7.0 17.5 Ethnicity White Hispanic or Latino Pacific Islander Black or African American American Indian or Alaska Native 76.0 2.5 0.0 8.0 2.0

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32 Table 4-1. Continued Variable Percentage ( N = 200) Ethnicity continued Asian Other Choose not to answer No response 1.5 3.0 5.0 2.0

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33 Table 4-2. Politi cal orientations Variable Survey results Population results Political Affiliation Republican Democrat Independent Other No response ( N = 200) 26.5 % 47.5 % 15.5 % 6.0 % 4.5 % ( N = 105,714) 27.8 % 52.3 % 16.6 % 3.3 % Political Ideology 1 (Very conservative) 2 3 4 5 (Very liberal) 2.74 = Mean

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34 Table 4-3. Voting Variable Survey results ( N = 200) Voted in Florida presidential primary No Yes 41.0 % 59.0 % Plans to vote in presidential election No Yes No response 12.0 % 84.5 % 3.5 % Usually votes in elections for United States senators or congressmen No Yes No response 24.5 % 74.0 % 1.5 % Usually votes in state elections No Yes No response 26.5 % 72.5 % 1.0 % Usually votes in local elections No Yes No response 35.0 % 63.0 % 2.0 % Usually votes in referendum or petition elections No Yes No response 37.5 % 60.0 % 2.5 % Combined voting scale Does not vote in any elections (0) Votes in 1 election (1) Votes in 2 elections (2) Votes in 3 elections (3) Votes in 4 elections (4) Votes in 5 elections (5) Votes in 6 elections (6) 4.13 = Mean

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35 Table 4-4. Respondent activeness Variable Percentage ( N = 200) How often respondents think about political issues (Problem recognition) 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) No response 7.5 17.5 21.0 18.5 35.0 0.5 How confident respondents are th at they can make a political difference (Constr aint recognition) 1 (Not confident) 2 3 4 5 (Very confident) No response 18.5 20.5 26.0 12.5 21.0 1.5 How connected respondents feel th ey are to poli tical issues (Level of involvement) 1 (Not connected) 2 3 4 5 (Very connected) No response 11.5 18.0 26.0 22.0 21.0 1.5 Combined situational theory of publics scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 0.0 0.5 3.0 1.5 5.5 11.0 6.5 8.0 11.5 10.5 10.5 8.5 9.5 5.5 8.0

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36 Table 4-5. Campaign involvement Variable Percentage ( N = 200) Participation in campaigns No Yes No response 72.0 27.0 1.0 How often respondents volunteer to help with political campaigns 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) No response 10.0 9.0 3.5 2.5 1.0 74.0 How often respondents donate money to political candidates 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) No response 7.0 10.5 4.5 2.5 2.0 73.5 Combined campaign involvement scale 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (Very often) No response 1.0 6.5 5.5 6.0 2.5 1.5 1.0 1.5 1.5 0.5 72.5

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37 Table 4-6. Traditional media use Variable Survey results ( N = 200) Receive political or campaign information from traditional media No Yes 17.0 % 83.0 % How often respondents receive poli tical or campaign information from traditional media 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) 4.18 = Mean Receive political or campaign info rmation from family members, friends or coworkers No Yes 37.5 % 62.5 % How often respondents receive poli tical or campaign information from family members, friends or coworkers 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) 3.30 = Mean

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38 Table 4-7. Internet use for pol itical or campaign information Variable Survey Results ( N = 200) Internet use in general No Yes 21.5 78.5 Internet use for political or campaign information No Yes No response 59.0 19.0 22.0 How often Internet is used for political or campaign information 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) 2.89 = Mean Conservative and liberal Web site use 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) 5.00 = Mean Online newspaper and magazine use 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) 4.16 = Mean Candidate and activist group Web site use 1 (Never) 2 3 4 5 (Very often) 3.47 = Mean

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39 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Predictors of Internet Use for Po litical or Campaign Information The data shows there are two main predictors of Internet use for political and campaign information, respondent activeness and campaign invol vement. All of the major variables of the study were combined in order to determine the characteristics of latent, aw are and active publics. Table 5-1 was used to make those determinations. Respondent activeness is an important pred ictor of campaign involvement and Internet use for political or campaign information. The situ ational theory of publics states there are three types of publics: latent public s, aware publics and ac tive publics (Gr unig, 1982). A latent public does not recognize the situation as problematic (1982, p. 169), so they do not see a problem, and as a result, they do not have much reason to use the Internet for political or campaign information. In addition, latent publics do not vo te often, usually one or two major elections, and have low campaign involvement, so they do not use the Internet for political or campaign information because they are not as i nvolved or interested in the campaign. An aware public is a group that recognizes a problem, but has not acted (Grunig, 1982, p. 169). Aware publics may take action depending on how they perceive the problem and how aware they are. If they are more aware, they may be more likely to take action. Aware publics sometimes use the Internet for political or campaign informati on because they are aware of a problem and they would like more informati on. In addition, aware publics have medium campaign involvement and usually vote in three or four elections because they feel somewhat involved in politics. An active public is a group that acts to do something about that situation (Grunig, 1982, p. 169). Active publics use the Internet for political or campaign information often

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40 because they feel more involved with the issu es of the campaign. Active publics also have a higher level of campaign involvement because they have become more involved through volunteering or donating money. In addition, active publics vote in five or six elections which range from major federal electio ns to minor state elections. People who receive political or campaign in formation from traditional media are more active and receive political or campaign information from family members, friends or coworkers because they have more of an interest in pol itics and political campaigns. People who receive political or campaign information from traditi onal media are also more likely to share the information they learned with othe rs they know and vice versa. People who receive political or campaign info rmation from family members, friends or coworkers are more active because they know peopl e who are interested in politics or political campaigns. Because they are receiving political or campaign information from others, they are more inclined to look up political information of in terest to them. The data also shows that the main predicto rs of Internet use in general are respondent activeness ( r (73) = .03, p = .26) and campaign involvement ( r (73) = .1, p = .25). This means that people who use the Internet for general purposes tend to ha ve higher levels of respondent activeness and campaign involvement. People who use the Internet more often in general may tend to have higher levels of respondent activ eness and campaign involvement because they know more about candidates and issues because of increased access to information through the Internet. Level of general Internet use may also be linked to respondent activeness because even if people are not using the Inte rnet to specifically look for pol itical or campaign information, they are still acquiring some of that inform ation through news headlines on Web sites and by clicking on political links they think may be interesting. This increase in information about

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41 politics causes people to be more politically ac tive because their knowle dge of the candidates and issues is increased, so they want to vote or become involved in campaigns in order to make a difference. This study applies to the situational theo ry of publics because level of respondent activeness determines who uses the Internet in ge neral, who uses the Internet for political or campaign information, and how often people vote. Active publics have the highest levels of respondent activeness and use the Internet in general and for po litical or campaign information often, and vote in most elections. Aware publics have medium levels of respondent activeness and use the Internet in general and for politic al or campaign information sometimes, and vote about half the time. Latent publics seldom use th e Internet in general or political or campaign information, and do not vote often. The practical implication of this study is that political candidates are able to target certain voters based on their levels of respondent activ eness. Active publics wi ll most likely vote, so candidates do not have to target them nearly as much as they need to target aware and latent publics. Aware publics will be more likely to vote if they know the importance of the issues of the election, so candidates need to impress upon aware publics the importance of the issues. Latent publics will be more likely to vote if the issues of the election pertain to them, so candidates need to make them understand how the issues apply to their lives. Limitations of the Study One major limitation of this study is its generalizibility. Due to the small sample size, the generalizibility is limited becau se the data results somewhat mirror the census data for Gainesville, Florida. If the study results were to be more genera lizible, 400 surveys would have had to be completed instead of the 200, whic h were completed due to time constraints.

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42 The time span in which the surveys were c onducted could have also affected the results of the study. Due to the long time span, the surv eys were administered during different parts of the presidential primary and pr esidential campaigns. Respondent answers toward the beginning of data collection may have varied from responde nt answers toward the end of data collection due to the uncertain nature of the presidentia l primaries. The Republican party had their candidate relatively early in the year, whereas th e Democratic party candida tes battled it out until the last possible second. In addi tion, the Democratic partys nomina ting system is hard for some people to understand due to the presence of super delegates. As a result, people who answered the survey during toward the beginning of data collection may have been less likely to say they would vote in the presidential election because they were unsure as to who the candidates would be. This study used random digit dialing in orde r to get a good mix of both listed and unlisted telephone numbers. Some people who were called refused to answer the survey because they had an unlisted number or were on the Do Not Call list. Other limitations include the screening of calls with caller ID, the tim e of day the calls were made, and the presence of landlines. Calls were made anytime between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. in order to have a good range and variance of calling times in an effort to not ex clude any particular group of people, but due to caller ID, many people may not answer the telephone for numbers they do not recognize. Calls made during the day may contain a higher populati on of retired people, unemployed, and stay-athome parents, whereas calls made later at ni ght may contain a higher population of people who were at work all day. Because they may have more time when they are at home during the day, people may be more likely to answer the survey. The presence of landlines may also have an effect on the results of the study. Many people who have both a landline and a cell phone are

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43 more likely to answer a landline that is calle d by a number they do not recognize versus a cell phone. This reduces the ability of reaching stud ents and other people who have cell phones as their only telephone.

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44 Table 5-1. Determinat ion of public types Type of public Respondent activeness scor e Campaign involvement score Voting score Latent 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2 Aware 6 7 8 9 10 4 5 6 7 3 4 Active 11 12 13 14 15 8 9 10 5 6

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45 CHAPTER 6 RECOMMENDATIONS While political Internet campaigning is becoming more popular, it is not a substitute for the traditional style of campaigning. Candidates should continue to campaign the old fashioned way and use political Internet campaigning as a supplement. One way to do this is for candidates make their campaign contact informa tion more prevalent than just online. Many candidates put their Web site addresses on campai gn materials, but seldom include the telephone number to their campaign headquarters. The inclusion of their telephone number will allow voters without Internet access or voters who do not know how to use the Internet to acquire information about candidates. Because candida tes are not including th e telephone number of their campaign headquarters, a group of potential voters is being ignored because they cannot go online and look at a candidates Web site. As a result, these voters may not vote, or they may vote for the candidate they think is best based on their limited knowledge of their platforms or their political affiliation, not because they f eel they are the correct person for the job. Stakeholder activism is an important factor in campaign involvement. The more active a stakeholder is, the more involved they will be in a campaign. Candidates need to find a way to encourage inactive stakeholders to become i nvolved in their campaigns. Because political Internet campaigning does not serve as a substitute for the traditional method of campaigning, online political activis m does not serve as a substitute for door-to-door and over-the-phone campaigning. Knowing that many people who use the Internet in gene ral tend to be more politically active, candidates need to find a way to reach out to inactive publics without using the Internet. The inclusion of their telephone num ber on campaign materials will allow these people to call candidates headquarters and obtain information about how to get involved. Currently,

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46 most candidates post information about how to b ecome involved in their campaigns on their Web sites, which means a group of potenti al volunteers is being ignored. According to Hallahan (2000), people are selective about the issues in which they become involved or consider important (p. 502), so candidates need to make one particular issue stand out among others in order to gain the attention of inactiv e publics. In addition, resource theory suggests that people enter into relationships in response to the need for resources, and social exchange theory sugge sts that people enter in to relationships by analyzing costs versus benefits (Hallahan, 2000, p. 503), so candidates need to give people a reason to get involved, such as fulfillment or a sense of accomplishment, and make the benefits of getting involved outweigh the costs. There ar e three steps candidates should follow in order to encourage online active publics to become offline active publics. The first step is to communicate with the publics onlin e, which candidates already do. The second step is to get the publics involved online, which they already are. The third step is to encourage the publics to get involved offline by making it beneficial and re warding to them. This can be done through having active publics interact with them and explain why they should get involved and what the benefits are, and offering rewards for being activ e offline, such as winning candidate apparel. Candidate Web sites also need to be monitored and maintained. If the Web sites are not updated continually, the informati on on it is useless. The inform ation about the issues of a campaign change frequently and candidate Web sites need to be updated to re flect these changes. Candidate Web sites must also contain information and applications th at appeal to younger voters. For example, George W. Bushs cam paign Web site included videos made by his daughters while they were traveli ng with him on the campaign trail. These videos were meant to appeal to younger voters and they addressed issues younger voters would be interested in.

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47 Online chats on candidate Web sites would also a ppeal to younger voters because they would be able to communicate with others in real time through the Web site This would allow them to exchange ideas about candidates and campaign i ssues. A member of the campaign staff should monitor these chats because they show what people are thinking about the candidate and the campaign issues and allow the candidate to make campaign adjustments if they deem necessary.

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48 APPENDIX SURVEY INSTRUMENT My nam e is Jennifer Warmington and I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. May I please speak to someone in the house who is over the age of 18? For my thesis, I am conducting surveys which stu dy Internet use for political purposes. Im not trying to sell you anything, Im ju st looking for some help on my th esis. If you would be willing to take a few minutes to take my survey, I would great ly appreciate it. Are you willing to help me out? Thank you very much. Due to research rules at th e University of Florida, I am required to read the following consent form. After I finish reading it, well start the survey. For my thesis, I am conducting a study which ex amines the influences of political Internet campaigning on voter attitudes and behaviors. In order to complete this study, I am conducting telephone surveys of randomly chose n, registered voters in Gainesvill e, Florida. The survey will take no longer than 15 minutes. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to answer. No identifying information will be att ached to the survey or your telephone number, and your identity will not be revealed in the thesis After the thesis is completed, the telephone numbers will be destroyed. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other benefits to you as a result of participating in this survey. You are free to withdraw your consent and discontinue your participation at anytime during this survey without consequence. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me or my supervisor, Dr. Spiro Kiousis. Please write down the following contact in formation so you have it for future reference. My telephone number is (352) 846-1060, and the te lephone number of my supervisor, Dr. Spiro Kiousis, is (352) 376-3013. If you have any ques tions or concerns about your rights as a participant, please contact the IRB02 office at (352) 392-0433. Please say yes if you give your consent to partic ipate in this survey. Please say no if you do not give your consent to pa rticipate in this survey. Internet Usage in General Do you use the Internet? Yes No If no, go to Situational Theory of Publics. Where do you primarily use the Internet? Home Work School Somewhere else

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49 How many days a week do you use the Internet? 1 day a week 2 days a week 3 days a week 4 days a week 5 days a week 6 days a week 7 days a week How long do you usually spend on the Internet at one time? 0 to 3 hours 4 to 7 hours 8 to 11 hours 12+ hours What type of Internet connection do you use primarily? DSL Cable Wireless Dial-up Other Do you ever use anything other than a computer to access the Internet? Yes No Internet Usage for Political Information Do you use the Internet for political or campaign information? Yes No If no, go to Situation Theory of Publics. How often do you use the Internet for political or campaign information? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often How many days a week do you use the Internet specifically looking for political or campaign information? 1 day a week 2 days a week 3 days a week 4 days a week 5 days a week 6 days a week 7 days a week How often do you look at Web sites you consid er conservative for political or campaign information? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often How often do you look at Web sites you consider lib eral for political or campaign information? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often How often do you look at candidate Web site s for political or campaign information? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often How often do you look at any activist group Web s ites for political or campaign information? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often

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50 How often do you use online newspapers for political or campaign information? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often How often do you use online magazines for political or campaign information? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Why do you use the Internet for pol itical or campaign information? Convenience 1 2 3 4 5 Not Convenient Very Convenient Trustworthy 1 2 3 4 5 Not Trustworthy Very Trustworthy Informative 1 2 3 4 5 Not Informative Very Informative Easy to find what you are looking for 1 2 3 4 5 Difficult Easy More information available 1 2 3 4 5 Little Information Much Information Available Available How trustworthy is the political information you find on the Internet? 1 2 3 4 5 Not Trustworthy Very Trustworthy How trustworthy are political candidates Web sites? 1 2 3 4 5 Not Trustworthy Very Trustworthy How trustworthy are third party Web sites? 1 2 3 4 5 Not Trustworthy Very Trustworthy How trustworthy is the political content of online newspapers? 1 2 3 4 5 Not Trustworthy Very Trustworthy

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51 Situational Theory of Publics How often do you think about political issues? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often How confident are you that you can make a political difference? 1 2 3 4 5 Not Confident Very Confident How connected do you feel you are to political issues? 1 2 3 4 5 Not Connected Very Connected Campaign Participation Do you volunteer or make monetary donations to political campaigns or candidates? Yes No If yes, continue to next ques tion. If no, go to blog usage. How often do you volunteer to he lp with political campaigns? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often How often do you make monetary do nations to political candidates? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Blog Usage Are you familiar with blogs? Yes No If no, go to e-mail questions. Do you subscribe to a blog? Yes No If yes, how often do you post to a blog? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Do you have a personal blog? Yes No

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52 If yes, how often do you post to your personal blog? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Do you look at blogs for political or campaign information? Yes No If yes, how often do you look at blogs for political or campaign information? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often E-mail Questions Do you receive e-mails from candidates? Yes No If yes, how often do you receive e-mails from candidates? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Do you receive e-mails from political parties? Yes No If yes, how often do you receive e-mails from political parties? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Do you receive e-mails about politics from activist groups? Yes No If yes, how often do you receive e-mails about politics from activist groups? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Do you receive e-mails from current public officials? Yes No If yes, how often do you receive e-mails from current public officials? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Traditional Media Usage Do you receive political or campaign information from television, radio, magazines, or newspapers? Yes No

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53 If no, go to question. If yes, how often do you receive political or campaign information from television, radio, magazines, or newspapers? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Do you receive political or campaign information from family members, friends, or coworkers? Yes No If no, go to demographic information. If yes, how often do you receive political or campaign information from family members, friends, or coworkers? 1 2 3 4 5 Never Very Often Demographic Information People are very busy and do not always have a lot of time to vote. Did you have an opportunity to vote in the Florida presidential primary election on January 29, 2008? Yes No Do you plan on voting in the presid ential election in November 2008? Yes No Do you usually vote in elections for United States senators or congressmen? Yes No Do you usually vote in state elections, like elections for governor, state senators, or state congressmen? Yes No Do you usually vote in local el ections, like mayoral elections? Yes No Do you usually vote in referendum or petition elections? Yes No What is your political affiliation? Republican Democrat Independent Other What is your poli tical ideology? 1 2 3 4 5 Very Conservative Very Liberal

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54 What is your age? 18 to 24 25 to 30 31 to 35 36 to 40 41 to 45 46 to 50 51 to 55 55+ What is your gender? Male Female What is the highest level of education you completed? Less than High School High School graduate or GED Vocational or Technical Degree Associate Degree Some College Bachelors Degree Masters Degree Doctorate What is your yearly income? Less than $20,000 $20,000 $29,999 $30,000 $39,999 $40,000 $49,999 $50,000 $59,999 $60,000 $69,999 $70,000 $79,999 $80,000 $89,999 $90,000 $99,999 More than $100,000 What is your race? White Hispanic or Latino Pacific Islander Black or African American American Indian or Alaska Native Asian Other Choose not to answer

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55 LIST OF REFERENCES Best, S. J., & Krueger, B. S. (2005). Analyzi ng the representativeness of Internet political participation. Political Behavior 27, 183-216. Dahlgren, P. (2005). The Internet, public sphe res, and political communication: Dispersion and deliberation. Political Communication 22, 147-162. Glenn, N. D., & Grimes, M. (1968). Ag ing, voting and poli tical interest. American Sociological Association 33, 563-575. Groves, R. M., & Kahn, R. L. (1979). Surveys by telephone: A national comparison with personal interviews New York, NY: Academic Press. Grunig, J. E. (1982). The message-attitude-behavior relationship: Communication behaviors of organizations. Communication Research 9, 163-200. Hallahan, K. (2000). Inactive publics: The forgotten publics in public relations. Public Relations Review 26, 499-515. Herrnson, P. S., Stokes-Brown, A. K., & Hindm an, M. (2007). Campaign politics and the digital divide: Constituency characterist ics, strategic consid eration, and candidate Internet use in state legislative elections. Political Research Quarterly 60 31-42. Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (2003a). A boost or bust for democracy?: How the Web influenced political attitudes and behaviors in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 8, 9-34. Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (2003b). Ar ound the World Wide Web in 80 ways: How motives for going online are linked to Internet activities among politically interested Internet users. Social Science Computer Review 21, 304-325. Kaid, L. L. (2003). Effects of political in formation in the 2000 presidential campaign. The American Behavioral Scientist 46, 677-691. Kenski, K., & Stroud, N. J. (2006). Connections between Internet use and political efficacy, knowledge, and participation. Journal of Broadcasti ng and Electronic Media 50, 173-192. Kerbel, M. R., & Bloom, J. D. (2005). Bl og for America and civic involvement. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 10, 3-27. McKeown, C. A., & Plowman, K. D. (1999) Reaching publics on the web during the 1996 presidential campaign. Journal of Public Relations Research 11, 321-347.

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56 Miniwatts Marketing Group. (2008). United States of America: Internet Usage and Broadband Usage Report Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://www.internetworldstats.com/am/us.htm Morgan, G. A., Leech, N. L., Gloeckner, G. W & Barrett, K. C. (2007). SPSS for introductory statistics: Use and interpretation. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates. Palfrey, T. R., & Poole, K. T. (1987). The re lationship between information, ideology, and voting behavior. American Journal of Political Science 31, 511-530. Park, H. S., & Choi, S. M. (2002). Focus gr oup interviews: The Inte rnet as a political campaign medium. Public Relations Quarterly 47 36-42. Price, V., & Cappella, J. N. (2002). Online delib eration and its influe nce: The electronic dialogue project in campaign 2000. IT & Society 1, 303-329. Prior, M. (2001, October). Efficient choice, inefficient democr acy?: The implications of cable and Internet access on political knowledge and voter turnout. Paper presented at the 29th Research Conference on Information, Communi cation, and Internet Policy, Alexandria, VA. Shah, D. V., Cho, J. Eveland, W. P., & Kwak, N. (2005). Information and expression in a digital age: Modeling Internet effects on civic participation. Communication Research 32, 531-565. Shah, D. V., Kwak, N., & Holbert, R. L. (2001). "Connecting" and "disconnecting" with civic life: Patterns of Internet use a nd the production of social capital. Political Communication. 18, 141-162. Stacks, D. W. (2002). Primer of public relations research New York, NY: The Guilford Press. Tolbert, C., & McNeal, R. (2001). Does the Internet increase voter participation in elections?. American Political Science Association (pp. 1-39). Tolbert, C. J., & McNeal, R. S. (2003). Unraveling the effects of the Internet on political participation?. Political Research Quarterly 56, 175-185. U.S. Census Bureau. (2007). Population Finder. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SA FFPopulation? _event=Search&_name=gainesvi lle&_state=04000US12&_county=gainesvill e&_cityTown=gainesville&_zip=&_sse= on&_lang=en&pctxt=fph Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, J. R. (2006). Mass media research: An introduction Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.

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57 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jennifer C. Warmington received a Master of Arts in Mass Co mmunication from the University of Florida in May 2009. She received her Bachelor of Arts in mass communication with an emphasis in public relations in 2006 from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She was a distance swimmer for the University of Minnesota for four years and continues to compete in open-water swimming events.