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Abstract

This paper addresses the impact new media tools have on different segments of the electoral process in the United States. Specifically, it looks at the impact new media has by providing information, influencing the news cycle and setting agendas, shaping public opinion, providing more fundraising opportunities, increasing political participation and youth voter turnout, and changing election results. This paper does so by drawing on systematic studies, data from the Pew Research Center, and case studies, specifically that of the 2008 Presidential Election. This analysis is unique in that it uses very current information, focusing on the 2008 election, as this was the first election in which new media was fully integrated into campaign strategies. It is also unique in that it analyzes several types of new media including social networks, blogging, campaign websites, and Internet fundraising. These findings suggest that new media does influence and shape the course of the electoral process in the United States through the six aspects of the electoral process presented in this paper.

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