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Assessing the 2004 Campaign Websites: The Role of the Internet in Elections and Civil Society Open Access

The Internet is changing the face of political campaigns in the United States; not since the introduction of television have the tools used to communicate with the electorate changed so notably. This study uses the 2004 campaign websites created by the Democratic primary candidates and President George W. Bush to evaluate both the ways in which websites can help voters participate in democratic decision-making, and the ways in which websites may help candidates gain public support. We find that, given a list of 41 criteria deemed important to an informative, participatory and easy to use website, the average candidate's site earned just over half the possible points. Still, initial correlation analyses suggest that better websites may mean more votes on Election Day.

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