This paper presents a longitudinal analysis of US Presidential candidates’ websites covering the extended primary campaign, from March 2007 to March 2008. The analysis comprised the websites of all major candidates running for President in the Democratic and Republican parties and was performed in March, June, September, November, 2007, and January, February, March, 2008. The observations were guided by a coding scheme featuring eighty-nine variables arranged into three macro-areas: information tools, participation tools, and professionalism. Preliminary analysis reveals a steady growth in websites’ average scores as the campaign progresses and a significant investment in participation tools, which, unlike in European countries, are featured as prominently as information tools. Moreover, Democratic candidates’ websites obtain remarkably higher scores than Republicans’, a phenomenon that appears to be consonant with other comparative studies highlighting progressive parties’ higher propensity to innovative online strategies. Significant differences also emerge between top-tier and lower-tier candidates’ websites, thus confirming the “normalization of cyberspace” theory which claims that the new media tend to mirror, rather than transform, the preexisting political landscape, although notable exceptions can be found. The data are interpreted in conjunction with some reflections on the notion of “American exceptionalism”, i.e., the specific features of the US political and media system, and its relevance in understanding internet politics.

Only in America? Candidates’ Websites in the 2008 US Presidential Primaries

VACCARI, CRISTIAN
2008

Abstract

This paper presents a longitudinal analysis of US Presidential candidates’ websites covering the extended primary campaign, from March 2007 to March 2008. The analysis comprised the websites of all major candidates running for President in the Democratic and Republican parties and was performed in March, June, September, November, 2007, and January, February, March, 2008. The observations were guided by a coding scheme featuring eighty-nine variables arranged into three macro-areas: information tools, participation tools, and professionalism. Preliminary analysis reveals a steady growth in websites’ average scores as the campaign progresses and a significant investment in participation tools, which, unlike in European countries, are featured as prominently as information tools. Moreover, Democratic candidates’ websites obtain remarkably higher scores than Republicans’, a phenomenon that appears to be consonant with other comparative studies highlighting progressive parties’ higher propensity to innovative online strategies. Significant differences also emerge between top-tier and lower-tier candidates’ websites, thus confirming the “normalization of cyberspace” theory which claims that the new media tend to mirror, rather than transform, the preexisting political landscape, although notable exceptions can be found. The data are interpreted in conjunction with some reflections on the notion of “American exceptionalism”, i.e., the specific features of the US political and media system, and its relevance in understanding internet politics.
Politics Web 2.0: An International Conference
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C. Vaccari
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/79561
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