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Developing a New Media Communications Strategy to Increase Political Participation

Rachel Louise Dodsworth University of Denver University College Capstone Project for Master of Professional Studies Organizational and Professional Communication November 8, 2010

Dodsworth-ii Abstract Traditional forms of political participation, including the act of voting, have steadily decreased in the United States since the 1960s. This Capstone project explores whether or not political campaigns could motivate new forms of political participation by incorporating a new media strategy into their overall campaign marketing plans and communications. After conducting primary and secondary research, this Capstone concludes that political campaigns need to promote opportunities for participation in the election process by developing new media strategies, sharing relative and interesting information, monitoring popular issues, engaging in transparent and consistent online conversations, and motivating participation by calling constituents to action.


Table of Contents Abstract .............................................................................................ii   Introduction ....................................................................................... 1   Problem Statement ..................................................................... 2   Statement of Goals and Objectives................................................ 4   Review of Literature ............................................................................ 4   Voter Turnout ............................................................................ 5   The Internet & Social Media ......................................................... 9   New Forms of Political Participation ..............................................14   Successful New Media Communication Strategies ...........................16   Design and Implementation.................................................................18   Work Plan, Methods and Procedures .............................................18   Quantitative Survey ...................................................................19   Results .............................................................................................20   Discussion ........................................................................................28   Develop a New Media Strategy ....................................................30   Share Information .....................................................................31   Monitor & Engage ......................................................................33   Motivate Participation .................................................................36   Measure Results ........................................................................37  

Dodsworth-iv Areas for Further Research..................................................................40   Strengths & Limitations ......................................................................41   Conclusion ........................................................................................42   References........................................................................................44   Appendices .......................................................................................49   Appendix A: Informed Consent Form ............................................49   Appendix B: Complete Survey Questions ......................................51   Appendix C: Full Electronic Survey Results ....................................58  

Dodsworth-1 Introduction Political participation is the foundation for creating and maintaining a truly representational and successful democracy. In the United States, voter turnout has been steadily declining since the 1960s at a rate of 1.2 percent every four years (Wattenberg 2002, 6). Many scholars argue this decline is a danger to American democracy because “the nation that prides itself as being the best example of government of, for and by the people will continue to drift towards a government of, for and by the interested few” (Doppelt and Shearer 1999, 12). A study by the United States Department of Commerce reveals the “least interested few” and indicates that the decline in voter turnout can be largely attributed to factors related to age, education, income, and race (1991). Low turnout by these groups results in high underrepresentation relative to their percentage of the total voting-age population in the United States. If high voter turnout is the key to an effective and representative democracy, why are political campaigns not developing new communications strategies to motivate increased political participation of voting age citizens, including those in underrepresented groups? Active political participation is essential to the electoral process, but many Americans fail to take advantage of their right to vote. What new technology and social media tools could political campaigns use to communicate with potential voters in order to

Dodsworth-2 motivate active political participation in the midst of overall declining voter turnout? For the purposes of this Capstone project, “motivate” is defined as the process by which political campaigns could provide more relevant, updated information with improved communication through the use of new technologies and social media tools, so they can help establish positive social changes to increase active political participation and voter turnout. Campaigns traditionally could dictate one-sided information to the public because voters were viewed as inactive participants in political communications. Now, campaigns must utilize new technologies and social media tools to provide potential voters with greater transparency, education, and engagement, while also allowing potential voters to become active participants in the electoral process in order to stimulate increased political participation. Problem Statement Political campaigns need to develop new media communication strategies to effectively facilitate positive, active participation of the public in order to increase voter turnout and representation. Low voter turnout is a problem because it leads to unequal representation of certain demographics in the United States, which creates policies that are more partial toward the active voters. Political strategists Burkhart et al. (1972) reason that one of the key effects of low voter turnout and “apathy toward political participation

Dodsworth-3 is that the political process tends to be dominated by, and run for the benefit of, a small minority… (2). This leads to the further isolation of low voter turnout groups in the electoral process, because policies and campaigns are not geared to the underrepresented needs. Doppelt and Shearer (1999) researched voter turnout in the United States trends, and argue the reason younger, poorer, and less educated people vote less is “because the political system tends to isolate them, to cause and entrench apathy” (9). The increased political participation during the 2008 presidential election is attributed to many factors, but largely correlated with the Obama campaign’s effective use of online and social media communications to promote political participation and information sharing. A report on the Obama for America campaign by strategists DiJulio and Wood (2008) found that the groundbreaking new media program “was truly impressive, resulting in an email list of 13 million individuals, five million friends on various social networks and half a billion dollars raised” (4). The Obama campaign made it easy for the typically inactive youth to communicate, organize, and find the information needed to participate politically and vote. Research highlights these online and social media tools have the potential to increase political participation for a number of reasons including: online interactive capacities that allow certain forms of political activity to be conducted more easily; vast amounts of political information could have the effect of lowering the costs of acquiring political knowledge and stimulating

Dodsworth-4 political interest; online capacities to facilitate mobilization to take political actions; they allow larger, diverse groups to form and mobilize (Smith et al 2009, 13). As traditional forms of political involvement are decreasing, political campaigns need effective online and social media communications strategies to stimulate new forms of active participation and motivate typically inactive voters. Statement of Goals and Objectives The intention of the current Capstone project is to research how political campaigns could utilize new technologies and social media tools to create new communications strategies that could improve information sharing and motivate citizens to be more active in political participation. To do this, the Capstone focuses on three major topics: First, how political campaigns generally communicated with voters and how new technologies and social media tools change the dynamics of these communications; second, why political campaigns must utilize these new tools and how this could help increase active political participation, especially with regard to the underrepresented groups; and third, what recommendations can be made for developing new strategies to utilize these new technologies and social media tools. Review of Literature This review of literature contains an analysis of political participation in the United States and the new online and social media tools that promote

Dodsworth-5 new forms of participation. To understand and advance political participation in today’s environment, it is important to examine the role and scope of online and social media communication strategies. The emerging trends show that online and social media tools allow political campaigns to develop new communication strategies to successfully motivate new forms of political participation. Successful campaigns integrate online and social media tools with their overall communication strategy. For the literature review, numerous types of sources were consulted, including national studies, polls, news articles, online journals, books, and government reports. The main ideas to be addressed in this review of literature are the effects of voter turnout, what online and social media tools are, how political participation and communication are changing, and successful political campaign communications strategies that utilized online and social media tools. Voter Turnout Information sharing and political participation are the pillars to a successful democracy. In fact, most political and government scholars argue, “Citizens’ engagement in democratic processes is a necessary condition for a healthy, function democracy” (Scheufele 2001, 20). Voting is the foundation of citizenship in a democracy, but many Americans do not participate in this fundamental aspect of the electoral process. United States citizens are reminded each election cycle that fewer voters are turning up at the polls as

Dodsworth-6 compared to most other democracies. Political scientist Robert Putnam states that the United States voter “turnout rate ranks us just above the cellar—narrowly besting Switzerland, but below all twenty-two other established democracies” (2000, 31). In fact, voter turnout has been steadily declining in the United States since the 1960s. Political scholars have examined trends and patterns associated with voter turnout and have reached a general consensus on why Americans currently fail to vote. A report by the Census Bureau (1991) found that voter turnout is related to the following characteristics: likelihood of voting is higher with age; chances of voting increases with education; persons with higher incomes are more likely to vote; the Midwest leads the way; homeownership and length of residence make a big difference; the gap between whites and blacks has closed; and most workers employed in the public sector vote. Political researchers Doppelt and Shearer (1999) note that reasons for not voting include, “few real choices, time, too many elections and jurisdictions, elections on the wrong day, inadequate civics, the tone of the campaigns, media focus on the horse race, the decline of political parties, and a reluctance to serve on juries” (11). Political scholar Bruce Bimber reasons that low voter turnout results from the resonation of problems in the United States including the following: “the distortions of money and campaign finance arrangements, low public trust, a political culture dominated by marketing and polling, and the profound influences of

Dodsworth-7 one particular technology, television” (2003, 1). Low voter turnout is often associated with people’s feelings of disenfranchisement in the political process. One of the impacts of low voter turnout is that underrepresented groups vote in numbers disproportionate to the size of their group (United States Census Bureau 1991). For example, information from the United States Census Bureau demonstrates that, in the 1996 presidential election, 18 to 24-year-olds comprised 13 percent of the adult population and those 65 or older made up 16 percent (1991). However, 18 to 24-year-olds only made up seven percent of all voters, while the 65 and older population accounted for 20 percent (1991). U.S. Census Bureau information from the 2008 presidential election highlighted that 18 to 24-year-olds made up 13 percent and those 65 and older made up 16.5 percent of the adult population, while during the 1996 election 18 to 24-year-olds made up 10 percent of all voters, while the 65 and older population accounted for 19 percent (2009). These statistics illustrate the potential shift in voter turnout that could allow for greater voter proportionality for the typically underrepresented groups compared with the overall populations. A recent Gallup Poll found if young people were to vote at about the same rate as older people, election outcomes would be affected (Moore 2010). The United States Census Bureau reported “voters 18 to 24 were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout,

Dodsworth-8 reaching 49 percent in [the] 2008” presidential elections (2009). Young voters preferred Obama to McCain 68 percent to 30 percent, and this afforded him the highest share of youth votes for any candidate since 1976, when exit polls began reporting by age (Dahl 2008). Dahl (2008) quoted John Della Volpe of the Harvard Institute of Politics, who stated, “The youth vote is turning states that Obama would’ve lost or barely won into more comfortable margins” (2). The 2008 presidential election exemplified the success of information sharing and providing voter education for garnering support and participation from the typically inactive, young, and underrepresented voters. Many political researchers argue that this voter turnout decline is a problem and should not be happening because the United States has improved and changed in ways that should be increasing and simplifying political participation. Political scholar Scheufele argues that increasing levels of participation could have been expected “based on an increasingly rich information environment, including recent technological advances in electronic communications” (2001, 21). He further asserts, “given levels of education among the American people, participation could have been expected to rise substantially between 1960 and 1996” (2001, 22). Political scientists reason that government policy, specifically the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, should have increased voter registration and offset turnout decline. These generational changes related to technology,

Dodsworth-9 education, and laws were expected to increase political participation to historical levels. Although it is well known that the United States has low voter turnout compared to other democracies, the true problem is American voter turnout compared to its own past. Most political scientists reason that the decline in voter turnout has been gradual and part of generational changes related to demographics. Political scientist Putnam (2000) argues that voter turnout decline resulted from generational changes; he states, “Beneath the ups and downs of individual elections, however, virtually all the long-run decline in turnout is due to the gradual replacement of voters who came of age before or during the New Deal and World War II by the generations who came of age later” (33). These generational changes impact voter turnout based on group demographics, and older groups are typically the most active toward political participation. The Internet & Social Media The rise in Internet access and use of social media tools has facilitated new and simple ways for people to engage in political participation and communications. Internet use, electronic communications, and online social media tools continue to grow, driven by commerce, networking, information sharing, and communications. Internet and social media tools have the ability to close the gap between the characteristically active and non-active voter demographics by allowing these groups the chance to easily find

Dodsworth-10 information about the civic process and communicate in ways that influence the tone of the campaign, the media focus, and group mobilization. The Internet has paved the way for new forms of electronic communications to evolve, and it has grown into a tool that facilitates the quick, global spread of communications. Political scientists Hart and Daron (2001) reason that the Internet can provide greater amounts of mobilizing information than traditional media because “the Internet is essentially unlimited by space or time constraints, constrains that impinge heavily on traditional media like newspaper and television” (29). The Internet makes it easier and cheaper to share and gather large amounts of information, while also making it more accessible to numerous, diverse people. Each of the internet’s inventions brought with it greater advancements toward improving the electronic communications of that time period, because each development made sharing and gathering large amounts of information easier, cheaper, and more accessible to numerous people. It is generally agreed by most that the Internet facilitates communication flexibility by “allowing individuals to choose what information to access and when to access. It also permits users to exchange large amounts of information quickly regardless of geographical distance” (Tolbert and McNeal 2003, 175). After the 1980s, commercialization of the Internet helped grow the Internet’s accessibility. Analysis of data collected from International Telecom Union’s Internet usage report reveals that the number of Internet

Dodsworth-11 users almost doubled between 1998 to 2000 to 142.823 million users, and rose eighty-five percent between 2005 to 2010 to 239,894 million users (International Telecom Union 2010). The 2010 figures reveal that roughly 77.3 percent of the United States population is comprised of Internet users. This accessibility allowed the Internet to grow quickly in popularity as a form of communication, and this gave it the power to greatly influence and impact culture. Multiple forms of electronic communications and information sharing forums evolved from the Internet. E-mail is extremely common and often the most preferred type of communication. According to BBC News (2010), at the time of writing there were close to 247 billion e-mail messages sent per day. According to Alexa (2010), the web information company,, a search engine, was the number one visited website in the world and was roughly visited by 45 percent of the world’s Internet users each day. Scholars generally agree that “information-oriented use such as information acquiring and exchange on the Internet provides users with opportunities for civic recruitment and further encourages political participation” (Zhang et al. 2009, 78). Until recently Google and other search engine sites held the top spots for the most visited websites on the Internet. In March 2010, Facebook overtook Google to become the most visited website in the world; this marked a shift from information sharing to

Dodsworth-12 social network communications as the top tools used on the Internet (Pepitone 2010). Social media encompasses blogs, microblogs (e.g., Twitter), social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn), social bookmarking sites, social news sites, and video/photography sites. The key difference from traditional marketing is that social media allows for personal communications, allows for easy online participation, and stimulates information sharing. Social media marketer Tamar Weinberg (2009) asserts that social media “helps facilitate communication about ideas that users are passionate about, and connects like-minded individuals throughout the world,” and “relates to the sharing of information, experiences, and perspectives throughout community-oriented websites” (1). David Greenberg (2008), a professor in Journalism & Media Studies, further supports this idea and wrote: The use of social media as a marketing tool has quickly become prominent in the modern business world, and it can be an extremely effective way to promote your products and services to a targeted audience. Websites function as a static billboard to promote your products, services, or ideas, but social media has created an opportunity for dynamic dialogue with your audience. The dialogue allows for interaction and personal connection (8).

Dodsworth-13 These differences, coupled with the rise in Internet access, have allowed social media to evolve and become extremely popular. Social media has quickly become the most popular way to spend time online and has rapidly evolved into a largely used marketing tool due to its ability to target, personalize, and share information to a considerable number of people. In fact, “people in the United States continue to spend more time on social networking and blog sites as well, with total minutes increasing 210% year-over-year and the average time per person increasing 143% year-over-year in December 2009” (Nielsen Wire 2010). This is especially true for the young voters that are not typically active in traditional forms of political participation. Political and technological researchers Zhang et al. (2009) wrote, “social network sites may be bringing in new voters, particularly the young, to get involved in the political process” (75-76). Political campaigns should make sure to take advantage of providing and sharing information through social media, because it is easily attainable by the typically inactive, youth voters that heavily use social media. This is supported by the fact that “users under 35 represent 72% of those users who make political use of social networks” (Lardinois 2009, 2). Social media has provided a new way to facilitate communications amongst large, diverse groups of people who may not have been active participants in other forms of information sharing and communications.

Dodsworth-14 New Forms of Political Participation Political campaigns generally communicate with potential voters to share campaign information with the goal to increase political participation. Political participation generally concerns “the activities that aim at directly or indirectly influencing the selection of elected officials and/or the development and implementation of public policy” (Zhang et al. 2009, 76). The increasing role of the Internet in the United States has created new forms of participation. This assertion is supported by political scientists Homero Zuniga, Aaron Veenstra, Emily Vrage, and Dhavan Shah who wrote, many “scholars have reflected on the potential of the Internet to promote distinct informational and interpersonal dynamics that may reinvigorate the democratic process online and offline” (2010, 38). These online tools provide new and simplified means of facilitating political participation. Political campaigns have the ability to close the gap on reasons not to vote by communicating, sharing information, and engaging voters, especially the inactive demographics, as active participants in the electoral process with these new online and social media tools. Tolbet and McNeal (2003) argue, “While a long tradition of research documents the demographic and psychological determinants of political participation, there is also evidence to suggest that changes in communication technology may play an important role influencing electoral behavior” (175). These new online and social media tools have the ability to motivate increased political participation because

Dodsworth-15 they can improve voter information and communications. Voters need information to participate and online and social media tools provide new forms for political participation. With more and more people easily accessing the Internet and the continuous increase in social media use, the overall percent of total population using these tools will continue to rise. In fact, a report by Aaron Smith, Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, and Henry Brady (2009) found the number of active participants in online and social media political communications to be quite significant out of the overall population: “one in five internet users (19%) have posted material about political or social issues or a used a social networking site for some form of civic or political engagement. This works out to 14% of all adults—whether or not they are Internet users” (Smith et al. 2009, 5). The Pew Research Institute August 2008 survey also found: Thirty-three percent of internet users had a profile on a social networking site and that 31% of these social network members had engaged in activities with a civic or political focus—for example, joining a political group, or signing up as a “friend” of a candidate—on a social networking site. That works out to 10% of all Internet users who have used a social networking site for some sort of political or civic engagement. In addition, 15% of internet users have gone online to add to the political discussion by posting comments on a website or

Dodsworth-16 blog about a political or social issue, posting pictures or video content online related to a political or social issue, or using their blog to explore political or social issues (2009, 5). This research highlights the high number of social media users and points to the opportunity political campaigns have to share information that motivates users and garners support. Successful New Media Communication Strategies The evidence in the extant research suggests that political campaigns must use online and social media in today’s world to connect with people, share content, collaborate, build relationships, and turn Internet users into supporters in order to be successful. Prior to the 2008 presidential election, new media was not typically integrated into campaign’s overall marketing plan. Even after 2008, digital marketer and advertiser Kate Kaye (2009) declares there are still many reasons why political campaigns do not focus on new media or spend money for online marketing: political media consultants are conditioned to buying TV; they don’t understand how to buy or target online ads; they don’t think their audience is online; web ads are relatively inexpensive; they don’t believe online advertising can be used for persuasion; they make far more commissions on TV ads than they do when buying Web ads (23-24). These reasons point out the importance of dedicating a staff person or team to its new media efforts, and examples of successful new media strategies highlight this importance.

Dodsworth-17 Most political and social media experts agree that Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was the most successful online and social media marketing campaign ever. David Greenberg (2008) even goes so far to say, “There is no doubt in anyone with a brain cell that part of the reason Barack Obama won the 2008 Presidential election was due to an extraordinary internet presence and a solid policy for engaging his potential constituents in ways that made them feel they were part of history” (2). The online focus of the Obama campaign allowed it to gain increased participation and communications through information sharing, connections, organization, and collaboration. Specifically, the campaign made the point to education its constituents by providing them with online information “to promote voter registration and get out the vote efforts to younger people” (Kaye 2009, 5). The Obama campaign successfully engaged social media tools as part of its overall campaign strategy to capture voters. Social media strategist Brent Leary and Obama for America Campaign Director David Bullock (2008) contend that the campaign was able to strategically leverage social media tools to “organize and energize millions of people at the grass roots level. Engage people who have not participated in the political process to be active members. Raise hundreds of millions of dollars—much of it coming from ordinary citizens” (10). Political communication strategists generally agree that the Obama camp certainly understood communication targeting since its messages “were standardized,

Dodsworth-18 shunning issues, and aiming to build grassroots support. Ads asked voters to ‘Sign Up for Initiations to Campaign Events’ and promoted them to join other campaign supporters” (Kaye 2009, 35). Social media tools allowed the Obama campaign to effectively target engagement and communications with potential voters in a way that promoted participation. Another successful political campaign’s use of social media was the 2010 special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy. The election was stacked in Attorney General Martha Coakley’s favor, but the unknown Scott Brown ended up winning. Most political strategists credit Brown’s win to the fact that social media allowed him to turn his “shoestring campaign into a much broader political movement” that allowed others to use technology to organize “the passion and drive and power of an idea” (Yan 2010, 3). This election demonstrated that online tools help candidates gain name recognition, party awareness, connections, and fundraising dollars. Design and Implementation Work Plan, Methods and Procedures I conducted primary and secondary research to develop a comprehensive analysis and strategy. The primary research was in the form of a quantitative survey that asked eligible voters about their own uses of online and social media tools and inquired about the behaviors and perceptions held by users who participate with political campaigns through

Dodsworth-19 these new technologies. These questions sought to determine if new online and social media tools have improved or deterred new forms of political participation. The secondary research came from different studies, reports, articles, and books relevant to the Capstone topic. The quantitative survey gathered data to fill in the holes of the secondary data and allowed me to gather answers to specific questions from a large-scale audience in a shorter amount of time. Quantitative Survey I used a quantitative survey to gather information about respondents’ part and current beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors about voting, political participation, and campaign communications. The survey questions investigated the correlation between social media use, the types of political participation, and the quality of communications between political campaigns and potential voters. Questions in this research focused on both how new technologies have changed voter participation and why people participate with political campaigns through social media tools. Identifying factors related specifically to the effects on voter information, ease of participation, and communication remained a priority for this portion of the research. To do this, I shared the survey online to participants via a web-based survey site called Zoomerang. I shared this survey via a hyperlink in a message post to individuals within my e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn networks and to others in my workplace, classes, volunteer

Dodsworth-20 organizations, club memberships, and hobby groups to which I belong so that these groups could distribute the survey to other members I do not know. My friends and family members also shared the survey link with others. All of the responses were anonymous to protect the identity of respondents. The survey included text from the Informed Consent Form (Appendix A)—which explained the research study’s purpose, the process for assuring anonymity, and associated risks for engaging in the survey. The survey included an introduction, multiple-choice and Likert-scale questions, and a closing statement (see Appendix B for complete list of questions). Participants were offered a copy of my research findings by sending me an e-mail request containing a common code, which was provided in the closing statement. Results In the course of distributing the survey, 136 people responded to this data (see Appendix C for complete survey results). Ninety-two percent of respondents were registered to vote in the United States. Three percent of the responders reported that they were not eligible to register to vote because of citizenship issues. One percent reported both that they do not know how to register and are uniformed of the electoral process. Respondents were asked what types of elections they have voted in. Ninetyseven percent of respondents reported voting in a presidential general election, but only thirty-five percent reported voting in a runoff election.

Dodsworth-21 Sixty-six percent reported voting in a mid-term general election, just slightly ahead of the sixty percent who reported voting in a presidential primary election. Fifty-four percent reported voting in a mid-term primary election, and forty-six percents reported voting in a special election. The third question asked respondents all the reasons why they vote, besides the fact that are registered. Personal right was the top reason, reported by eighty-nine percent of respondents (Figure 1). Other reasons included beliefs that vote counts. The fourth question asked respondents to provide multiple answers for where they research and gain information about who or what to vote for in elections (Figure 2). Other responses included receiving information in-person from politicians.

Figure 1. Reasons registered voters vote in an election.


Figure 2. Where registered voters gather information. The fifth question asked if respondents have participated in certain political forums in person (Figure 3). One person reported running for office as “other”. The following question asked respondents if they have participated in the same political forums, but online instead of in person (Figure 4).


Figure 3. In person political participation.


Figure 4. Online political participation. The seventh question asked if respondents have participated in certain political special networking activities, such as Facebook, MySpace, Ning, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Flicker, etc. Fifty-six percent of the respondents reported receiving political information on a social networking site (Figure 5).


Figure 5. Political participation on social networking sites. The eighth asked respondents what types of online and social media tools they most use frequently (Figure 6). Five percent reported “other” with each respondent naming Twitter.


Figure 6. Most frequently used online and social media tools. The ninth question asked how often respondents used online and social media tools. Zero percent of the respondents reported “never” and “seldom.” Sixty-four percent reported using these tools very frequently (multiple times per day). Thirty percent reported frequently (every day to once a week). Three percent reported occasionally (once every few weeks). Two percent reported very rarely (one every six months). One percent reported rarely (once every month) using these tools. The tenth question asked the reason why respondents use political campaigns’ online and social media tools (Figure 7). Sixty-five percent of the

Dodsworth-27 respondents reported to gather candidate information, compared to twentyone percent reported that they do not using political campaigns’ online and social media tools.

Figure 7. Uses of political campaigns’ online and social media tools. The next question asked respondents to rate political campaigns’ use of online and social media tools in terms of facilitating their participation in certain activities. Forty-nine percent of the respondents reported that online and social media tools are moderately important in getting them to participate. Twenty-six percent reported that the tools are very important in getting them to participate. Thirteen percent reported that the tools are of

Dodsworth-28 little importance, and twelve percent reported the tools are unimportant in getting them to participate. The final question asked respondents if their ability to use online and social media tools increased their participation with political campaigns. One percent of the respondents reported it has decreased their participation. Twenty-seven percent reported it has not increased their participation. Twenty-two percent reported it has increased their participation very little. Thirty-three percent reported it has increased their participation somewhat. Seventeen percent reported it has increased their participation a great deal. Discussion This section of the Capstone encompasses an overall summary of what was learned from the research data and proposes recommendations for how political campaigns can boost their new media strategies to improve their information sharing and improve political participation. Political campaigns are not using new media strategies as well as they could be and, as a result, have not stimulated new forms of information sharing that could motivate political participation. As stated in the introduction, limited knowledge about the electoral process is one factor for the decline in voter turnout that has led to the disenfranchisement of certain voter-aged demographics. These demographics are not voting as proportionately to the overall voting age population as they could be and as a result, have continued to perpetuate decreased voter turnout since the 1960s.

Dodsworth-29 In order to reverse this attitude and trend, primary and secondary research supports that a political campaign needs to develop and integrate a new media strategy into the overall marketing plan to provide new forms of communication and information sharing through new media in order to motivate voters to become more active in the political process. The data also reveals that online and social media tools are frequently used by a significant number of the voting age population in the United States, and are quickly become the preferred method of information sharing and communications. Therefore, based on the survey data and secondary research, the remainder of this section of the Capstone proposes suggestions that political campaigns can take to develop new media strategies that increase new forms of political participation. In order to conduct a successful new media effort, integrating this strategy with the campaign’s overall marketing and communication plan is essential. Once a political campaign decides to integrate a new media plan, this Capstone proposes five suggestions that need to be taken: develop a new media strategy that aligns with the overall marketing plan, participate in information sharing, monitor online communications and engage constituents, motivate participation by calling for action, and measure the results of the new media strategy.

Dodsworth-30 Develop a New Media Strategy From the survey results, it is apparent that although many political campaigns have quickly adapted to using new media tools, they are not being maximized through the development of new media strategies that are consistent with the campaign’s overall goals. Online and social media tools are rapidly evolving with new technology, but there are underlying new media trends that will continue to be well-suited for political campaigns in promoting their messages and motivating political participation among the potential voters. A decision to develop and set a new media strategy to the campaign’s overall marketing and communication efforts require knowledge of the campaign’s business and marketing goals, the target audience, and the finances available to create a viable, workable program. This assertion is supported by Kaye (2009), who emphasizes that John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign’s online strategy “was not necessarily on message with the McCain campaign…it was as if Internet advertising existed as a separate silo within the campaign” (4). It is difficult to create a new media strategy without understanding the campaign’s overall goals, target market, and resources. The new media strategy needs to be developed as part of the overall campaign strategy with an understanding of the campaign’s target market, marketing goals, and current use of new media. In addition to developing a strategy, the political campaign must also dedicate resources to the implementation of the new media strategy.

Dodsworth-31 Dedicating resources to the implementation of the new media strategy is crucial because many political campaigns have not traditionally had staff or a department dedicated and formally assigned to new media functions. It should be this person or department’s responsibility to manage and accomplish the steps outlined in the proposed new media plan. This assertion can be seen by the number of resources dedicated to new media programs by successful campaigns, and is supported by Nicole Russo, legislative aide to New York State Senator Kemp Hannon, as quoted in a Mashable article by Matt Silverman (2009): Do not leave your social media networking up to an intern. Many organizations make a page and then forget to update or allow someone that is unqualified to update it for them. You really need someone who knows when and what to post in order to capture an audience that will benefit your organization. The main point is that a political campaign needs to understand that its online and social media should be a specialty that is the focused job of a staff member. Share Information From the survey results, it is apparent that many people access political information and news through online and social media sources. This is why a political campaign must actively share interesting and relevant information as part of its strategy if it desires to achieve new media success.

Dodsworth-32 Information sharing needs to be persuading enough to motivate participation, and this requires the campaign’s new media strategy to incorporate and promote information about the candidate, campaign issues, voter information, relevant news and press releases, and other information potential voters find important. A political campaign must make it easy for people to find the information they are looking for, and political scientist Daron Shaw (2001) agrees with this assertion: “People must have access to political information for it to have an effect” (11). Information sharing, for a political campaign, creates the opportunity for users to share this information and increases the campaign’s online presence. The primary and secondary research lists voter uncertainty and limited knowledge of the electoral process as two of the top reasons why people do not vote or participate in politics. Information sharing helps erase voter uncertainty by providing knowledge of the candidate and the political process. Political researcher Lynn Vavreck supports this assertion (2001) and asserts, “Voters cannot learn what candidates do not tell them. If candidates do not take positions on issues during campaigns, if they provide little clarity what they believe and why, it is not surprising that voters will have high levels of uncertainty about candidates” (101–102). Political campaigns must communicate with potential voters to provide relevant information that has the ability to motivate political participation. In other words, political campaigns must communicate with potential voters to share information

Dodsworth-33 about the election, the campaign, and their candidates’ opponents to help limit voter uncertainty and to stimulate favorable political participation. Information sharing as part of the new media strategy can help political campaigns use these online and social media tools as effective ways to manage information and communicate with groups that are typically inactive eligible voters. A political campaign can use these online and social media tools to share relevant information about the candidate, issues, voter information, news, and other updates. By setting a proper new media strategy, a political campaign can share information as a way to encourage all demographics to participate politically, while providing the opportunity to become more involved. Monitor & Engage It is essential for a political campaign to take information sharing a step further by monitoring and engaging with its constituents through its online and social media channels. This requires regular listening and monitoring in order to know what people are saying about the campaign. It is almost guaranteed that people will be talking about the political campaign no matter what, and it is crucial for the campaign to take control of its message and engage these online conversations. A successful new media plan must include monitoring and engagement, because “conversations about your product are happening online regardless of whether or not you are participating in them” (Weinberg 2009, 15). Monitoring online

Dodsworth-34 conversations should include tracking the candidate’s name, the opponent’s name, relevant issues, popular trends, news articles, videos, users, and common topics. This allows the campaign to understand how constituents view its image and reputation. According to the primary and secondary research, people are more likely to vote and participate in politics depending on their feelings toward the candidate and his or her response to important issues. Monitoring and understanding the campaign’s online image and reputation is crucial, because “the heart of political communication is the way voters see candidates and their government” (Shaw 2001, 13). It is essential for political campaigns to monitor and use this information to effectively engage with its constituents, because this type of engagement ensures people will return to the campaign’s online and social media channels for the latest information, instead of going to other sites. Weinberg (2009) supports this assertion: “Staying silent is a good way to shun your followers and cause them to turn to another provider for the same (or similar) services” (307). If the monitoring reveals that people are talking about certain issues or referring to other sites for information, the campaign must address these issues by engaging users and providing them with the desired information as part of its new media strategy. Engagement should include publishing updates, Tweets, direct responses, or press releases related to the online conversations. The campaign should make sure engagement is based off its

Dodsworth-35 monitoring, so that it shares messages and posts in a manner that drives popularity. This may include posting breaking news as it happens, instead of waiting for the traditional press release. According to primary and secondary research, this type of engagement with online users will allow them to see that they are being heard by the campaign and that their opinion matters. This will promote new relationships and communications between the campaign and its constituents, while allowing the campaign to appear more authentic with its message. Most social media marketers believe: While you can pay to market politics online, it’s arguably better to engage your network of supporters and let them spread the message for you. Their reach and trust value far outweigh anything you could broadcast or pay for. Once you have their attention, little calls to action can go a long way (Silverman 2009). Engaging constituents in a tailored manner will encourage users to continue using and sharing information from the campaign’s online and social media channels. Political scientists support this assertion and reason, “when a voter feels that a particular candidate will respond meaningfully to pressing issues, and his own political involvement will prod the government to respond, he will be more likely to participate” (Burkhart et al. 1972, 13). Monitoring and engaging important issues through new media allows a political campaign to understand what potential voters find important, so it can adjust its message

Dodsworth-36 according in order to provide information that motivates people to participate, and ultimately get out to vote. Motivate Participation The primary and secondary research highlights that political campaigns must provide new ways for potential voters to participate in the political process. Furthermore, political campaigns must motivate potential voters to become supporters by promoting opportunities for them to volunteer, donate money, attend an event, meet other supporters, or perform some other action that helps the campaign. A political campaign should ensure its online and social media channels promote a specific way for how people can easily participate in the political process and help the campaign win the election. As quoted by Matt Silverman (2009), Julielyn Gibbons, president of an online strategy consulting firm, says, “Political campaigns aren’t much different than traditional marketing campaigns, with a few exceptions. Whether you’re selling a product, an idea, or a candidate, you’re ultimately trying to convince the public to embrace something.” This is why it is crucial for a political campaign’s new media strategy to include actions for users to take after hearing the campaign’s message. It is essential for a political campaign to motivate potential supporters if it wants to achieve real, measurable results, such as increased voters registration or turnout. The use of online and social media tools effortlessly facilitates “several forms of political activity—including making donations,

Dodsworth-37 forming a group of like-minded people, contacting public officials, and registering to vote” (Smith et al. 2009, 14). The campaign can share all the information it wants, but for it to be effective and earn real results the campaign must direct and motivate people to perform a specific action after learning about this information. Strategic political consultants stress, “the more successful organizations, or at least those that are seriously interested in winning elections or in effective favorable public policy, are the ones that recognize and take advantage of social motivation” (Burkhart et al. 1972, 27). Providing calls to action is a crucial part of having a solid new media and communications strategy that provides motivational opportunities that ultimately increase political participation. Measure Results The secondary research highlights that successful political campaigns make sure to measure the performance of their new media strategies. Iis essential for a political campaign to measure its social media strategy if it wants to ensure its use of online and social media channels are achieving the campaign’s goals. First, a political campaign should measure how many people are willing to join and connect with its online and social media networks. A campaign should count, track, and compare its your total number of Facebook “Fans”, Twitter “Followers”, YouTube subscribers, and other social network friends over time. Second, a campaign should measure interactions with the campaign on its social media channels. Analyzing this

Dodsworth-38 will allow the campaign to see how people use and share its social media channels. The campaign must look at how many people comment on status updates, post comments, and share interesting links to campaign information with others. This will help determine if people are using the online and social media tools in a way that helps spread the word of the campaign. If the channels are not having much activity, the campaign needs to change the way it uses these tools by posting more interesting, up-todate, relative, and informative information that people want to share with their friends. Next, the political campaign must measure the traffic of its online and social media tools, because traffic evaluates how often people are visiting the campaign’s site and social media channels. It is crucial for campaign’s to measure traffic, because it will allow the campaign to see how users find the site, where users come from, how long users stay on the site, what pages are consumed the most, and how many people actually visit the channels. This will help determine if the campaign is utilizing its social media channels in a way that drives people to want to learn more and gather information from the campaign’s online and social media channels. It will also allow the campaign to see if certain dates garnered more traffic, because surges reveal what type of information people are most receptive to so the campaign change its social media strategy to post in a similar manner that drives increased traffic. Fourth, the political campaign should measure how

Dodsworth-39 many people click through the campaign’s online and social media channels to perform a certain action. The most important conversion for political campaigns to measure include how many people sign up for campaign communications, click for volunteer information, and make donations. This will help determine if the campaign makes it easy and inviting for people to perform these actions. Finally, the political campaign should measure the influence of its online and social media tools. Influence evaluates how many people actively share and promote the campaign’s information versus glance and leave to find information elsewhere. Analyzing this will allow the campaign to see if it is providing the information people are looking for or if people are going to other channels for information. The campaign must look at how its messages are influencing online communications, if its messages are popular, and if its messages are showing up in search results. This will help the campaign determine if people find other sites or online tools to be more informative and up-to-date than the campaign’s online and social media channels. It will also allow the campaign to determine if it is using its online and social media tools in a way that provides people with the information they are searching for. Measuring online and social media performance is a key suggestion for political campaigns to make sure its new media strategy is promoting new forms of political participation.

Dodsworth-40 Areas for Further Research The research presented in this Capstone could lead to many other areas of study. Primarily, a study about online and social media use related to age and other demographics could be conducted to see if use is related to or correlated with certain demographics. Such a study could reveal, for example, which demographics using these tools are growing the fastest, and how this growth could impact the types of online political participation. Such a study could lead to political campaigns utilizing these tools to create a new media plan that targets and markets certain demographics toward a specific form of political participation. This Capstone also explored the new forms of political participation that some campaigns have engaged and employed. This topic will continue to be of interest to all political campaigns and those interested in using online and social media tools. There are many political campaigns that use online and social media tools, and this could represent the beginning of a major change to political campaign strategies and operations. The shift could represent a change to the way people share information and engage with others, which could change the way people participate in politics and with political campaigns. More research needs to be conducted on this topic to see if it will impact voter turnout by motivating eligible voters to participate in the new forms of online and social media political activities.

Dodsworth-41 Strengths & Limitations With every Capstone, there are limitations and strengths regarding the research. There are a few changes that would have strengthened the project. After evaluating the electronic survey data that was collected, it would have been more useful if respondents were asked to provide their age or another demographic. There are numerous demographics among all of the eligible voters, and these groups participate, communicate, and understand the political process differently from each other. Additionally, it would have been beneficial to distribute the survey in forms other than solely online because this research is based on results from a community that is arguably more active online and using social media; therefore, there is the potential for sample bias. This research also was conducted during a heated mid-term election year, and this could have some bearing on the political attitudes and levels of political participation of the survey respondents. However, this Capstone also possesses several strengths in terms of what it offers for motivating and increasing political participation. Political participation, especially the act of voting, is vital for a successful democracy, and this Capstone contributes to strengthening this democratic act. This research will benefit any political campaign wishing to utilize online and social media tools to motivate new forms of political participation through better, more tailored information sharing and communications. People

Dodsworth-42 always talk, most often complain, about the electoral process, and political campaigns need to be part of these conversations by monitoring topics and engaging users accordingly through online and social media tools. The strength of this research is that it provides a roadmap that campaigns can follow to motivate increased political participation. Conclusion The purpose of this Capstone was to study whether new technologies and online tools used by political campaigns as part of its overall strategy and communications could help motivate eligible voters to participate in the political process and, ultimately, to vote. The primary and secondary research conducted for this Capstone project demonstrates that there is a strong case for political campaigns to integrate a new media strategy as a vital part of its traditional marketing and communications in order to motivate new forms of political participations. The plan proposed by this Capstone project will help political campaigns effectively communicate with eligible voters and promote opportunities for participation that are facilitated by these online and social media tools. With online and social media tools, political campaigns can easily share information and educate eligible voters about the electoral process. A new media strategy will also enable political campaigns to monitor what others are saying about the campaign and what issues people find most important. Understanding how people perceive the campaign will allow for more

Dodsworth-43 transparent engagement by providing consistent, yet tailored, messages that address the popular topics. In additions to controlling its message, this strategy enables political campaigns to keep better control of its image and reputation. Without these efforts, political campaigns will fail to take advantage of new technologies and trends. The research suggests that the implications of failing to incorporate new media into a campaign’s overall marketing strategy will likely result in people turning to find information somewhere else, or worse, continue to feel disenfranchised from the political process and not participate.

Dodsworth-44 References Alexa. 2010. “ Site Info.” Accessed September 16. BBC News. 2010. “SuperPower: Visualising the internet.” Accessed September 16, 2010. Burkhart, J., J. Eisenstien, T. Fleming, and F. Kendrick. 1972. Strategies for political participation. Cambridge: Winthrop Publishers, Inc. Dahl, M. 2008. “Youth vote may have been key in Obama’s win.” MSNBC, November 5. Accessed September 14, 2010. DiJulio, S. and A. Wood. 2008. “Online tactics and success: An examination of the Obama for America new media campaign.” Wilburforce Foundation: 1 - 45. Accessed July 14, 2010. Doppelt, J. C. and E. Shearer. 1999. Nonvoters: America’s no shows. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc. Greenberg, P. 2008. Introduction to Barack Obama’s social media lessons for business, by B. Leary and D. Bullock, 2 – 9. Murfeesboro: LuLu, Inc. International Telecom Union. 2010. “Market Information and Statistics.” Last modified October 22.

Dodsworth-45 Kaye, K. 2009. Campaign ’08: A turning point for digital media. Jersey City, NJ: Kate Kaye. Lardinois, F. 2009. “Social media is slowly changing the demographics of political engagement.” Read Write Web, September 1. Accessed September 14, 2010. the_demographics_o.php. Leary, B. and D. Bullock. 2008. Barack Obama’s social media lessons for business. Murfeesboro: LuLu, Inc. Moore, D. W. 2002. “Elections could hinge on young voter turnout.” Gallup Polls, November 5. Accessed August 2, 2010. hinge-young-voterturnout.aspx. Morales, L. 2008. “Cable, Internet news sources growing in popularity.” Gallup Polls, December 15. Accessed August 2, 2010. Pepitone, J. 2010. “Facebook traffic tops Google for the week.” CNN Money, March 16. Accessed October 12, 2010. Putnam, R. D. 2000. Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks.

Dodsworth-46 Scheufele, D. A. 2001. “Democracy for some? Hw Political talk informs and polarizes the electorate.” In Communications in U.S. elections, edited by R. P. Hart and D. R. Shaw, 19 – 32. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Shaw, D. R. 2001. “Communication and electing.” In Communications in U.S. elections, edited by R. P. Hart and D. R. Shaw, 1 – 17. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Silverman, M. 2009. “How political campaigns are using social media for real results.” Mashable, August 2. Accessed July 29, 2010. Smith, A., K. L. Schlozman, S. Verba, and H. Brady. 2009. “The Internet and civic engagement.” Pew Internet and American Life Project, September 1. Accessed July 19, 2010. Tolbert, C. J. and R. S. McNeal. 2003. “Unraveling the effects of the Internet on political participation?” Political Research Quarterly, 56: 175 – 185. Accessed July 20, 2010. U.S. Census Bureau. 2009. “Voter Turnout Increases by 5 Million in 2008 Presidential Election.” Last modified July 2, 2010.

Dodsworth-47 U.S. Department of Commerce. 1991. “Historical Voting and Registration Reports.” Last modified July 22, 2004. U.S. Election Assistance Commission. 2007. “Election Administration and Voting Survey.” Accessed August 20, 2010. election_administration_and_voting_survey.aspx Vavreck, L. 2001. “Voter uncertainty and candidate: New influences on voting behavior.” In Communications in U.S. elections, edited by R. P. Hart and D. R. Shaw, 91 – 104. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Wattenberg, M. P. 2002. Where have all the voters gone? Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Weinberg, T. 2009. The new community rules: Marketing on the social web. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media, Inc. Yan, S. 2010. “How Scott Brown’s social-media juggernaut won Massachusetts.” Time, February 4. Accessed July 15, 2010.,8599,1960378,00.html.

Dodsworth-48 Zhang, W., T. J. Johnson, T. Seltzer, and S. L. Bichard. 2009. “The revolutions will be networked: The influence of social networking sites on political attitudes and behavior.” Social Science Computer Review, June 12: 75 - 92. Accessed July 20, 2010. doi: 10.1177/0894439309335162 Zuniga, H., A. Veenstra, E. Vrage, and D. Shah. 2010. “Digital democracy: reimaging pathways to political participation.” Journal of Information Technology, 7: 36 – 51. Accessed July 20, 2010.

Dodsworth-49 Appendices Appendix A: Informed Consent Form You are invited to participate in this study investigating social media and political campaigns, which is being conducted by Rachel Dodsworth to fulfill the requirements of a Capstone Project. Rachel Dodsworth can be reached at 720-248-7224/ This project is supervised by the student’s Capstone Advisor, Dr. Allison Friederichs, University College, Denver, CO, 303-871-3155/ Participation in this study should take about 5-10 minutes of your time and is strictly voluntary. The risks associated with this project are minimal. If, however, you experience discomfort you may discontinue the interview at any time. We respect your right to choose not to answer any questions that may make you feel uncomfortable. Refusal to participate or withdrawal from participation will involve no penalty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled. Your responses will be identified by code number only and will be kept separate from information that could identify you. This is done to protect the confidentiality of your responses. Only the researcher will have access to your individual data and any reports generated as a result of this study will use only group averages and paraphrased wording. However, should any information contained in this study be the subject of a court order or lawful subpoena, the University of Denver might not be able to avoid compliance

Dodsworth-50 with the order or subpoena. Although no questions in this interview address it, we are required by law to tell you that if information is revealed concerning suicide, homicide, or child abuse and neglect, it is required by law that this be reported to the proper authorities. If you have any concerns or complaints about this survey, please contact Denise Pearson, Assistant Dean, University College at 303-8713964. If you do not understand any part of the above statement, please ask the researcher any questions you have. Completing this online survey implies consent with the following statement: I have read and understood the foregoing descriptions of the study called “Developing a New Media Communication Strategy to Increase Political Participation.” I have asked for and received a satisfactory explanation of any language that I did not fully understand. I agree to participate in this study, and I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time. I have received a copy of this consent form.

Dodsworth-51 Appendix B: Complete Survey Questions 1) If you are not registered to vote in the United States, check all of the applicable reasons for why you have not registered? a) I am registered to vote b) Missed registration deadline c) Not enough time d) Not eligible to vote e) Do not want to serve jury duty f) Do not know how to register g) Not interested in voting h) Not encouraged to register i) Did not know registration was needed to vote j) Uniformed of the electoral process k) Other 2) Which of the following types of elections have you voted in? (Check all that apply.) a) Presidential general elections b) Presidential primary elections c) Mid-term general elections d) Mid-term primary elections e) Runoff elections f) Special elections

Dodsworth-52 3) Which of these reasons describes why you vote, besides the fact that you are registered to vote? (Check all that apply.) a) Personal right b) Time available c) Candidate choices d) Election importance e) Tone of the campaigns f) Media focus on the race g) Political party loyalty h) Campaign platform i) Social issues j) Ability to find information k) Other 4) Which of the following do you use to research and gain information about who or what to vote for? a) Politicians’ websites b) Secretary of State Elections Division c) Federal Election Commission d) Television ads e) Attend or watch rallies and debates f) News sites online g) Television news

Dodsworth-53 h) Social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Ning, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) i) Magazines or newspapers j) Friends and family k) Other 5) Have you participated in any of the following political forums in person? a) Signed a petition b) Contacted a national, state or local government office about an issue c) Worked with citizens in your community to solve a problem d) Attended a political meeting on local, town, or school affairs e) Become an active member of a group that tries to influence public policy or government f) Attended a political rally or speech g) Sent a letter to the editor h) Worked or volunteered for a political party or candidate i) Made a speech about a community or local issue j) Attended an organized protest k) None of the above l) Other

Dodsworth-54 6) Have you participated in any of the following political forums online? a) Signed a petition b) Contacted a national, state or local government office about an issue c) Worked with citizens in your community to solve a problem d) Attended a political meeting on local, town, or school affairs e) Become an active member of a group that tries to influence public policy or government f) Attended a political rally or speech g) Sent a letter to the editor h) Worked or volunteered for a political party or candidate i) Made a speech about a community or local issue j) Attended an organized protest k) None of the above l) Other 7) Have you participated in any of the political social networking activities listed below (through social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Ning, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flicker, Twitter, etc.)? (Check all that apply.) a) Posted comments about a political or social issue b) Received political info on a social networking site c) Wrote about political or social issues in a blog

Dodsworth-55 d) Started/joined a political groups or cause on a social networking site e) Became friends with a candidate on a social networking site f) Posted political news on a social networking site g) Posted pictures online about a political or social issue h) Posted video online about a political or social issue i) None of the above j) Other 8) What type of online and social media tools do you use most frequently? (Check all that apply.) a) News Site (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, etc.) b) Search Engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc) c) Facebook d) YouTube e) E-mail f) Photo sharing sites (Flicker, Picasa, etc.) g) LinkedIn h) MySpace i) Group scheduling sites (MeetUp, FriendFinder, etc.) j) Social bookmark sharing sites (Reddit, Digg, Delicious, etc.) k) Chat rooms or decision boards l) None of the Above

Dodsworth-56 m) Other 9) How often do you use online and social media tools, such as those listed in question 8? a) Very frequently (Multiple times per day) b) Frequently (Every day to once a week) c) Occasionally (Once every few weeks) d) Rarely (Once every month) e) Very rarely (Once every 6 months) f) Seldom (Setup and account, but do not use it) g) Never 10) For which of the following reasons do you use political

campaigns’ online and social media tools? (Check all that apply.) a) To gather candidate information b) To donate money c) To sign up for email updates d) To sign up for phone calls e) To sign up for text updates f) To sign up for mailing lists g) To find volunteer information h) To find events i) To stay connected in campaign communications j) To support a candidate on a social media site

Dodsworth-57 k) To find how to help the campaign in person l) None of the above m) Other 11) How would you rate political campaigns’ use of online and social

media tools in terms of facilitating your participation in activities such as those listed in question 10? 1) Online and social media tools are unimportant in getting me to participate 2) Online and social media tools are of little importance in getting me to participate 3) Online and social media tools are moderately important in getting me to participate 4) Online and social media tools are very important in getting me to participate 12) How has the ability to use online and social media tools, such as

those listed in question 10, increased your participation with political campaigns? 1) Has decreased my participation 2) Has not increased my participation at all 3) Has increased my participation very little 4) Has increased my participation somewhat 5) Has increased my participation a great deal

Dodsworth-58 Appendix C: Full Electronic Survey Results Zoomerang Survey Results Political Participation & Internet Use