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Political Parties, the Internet and the 2005 General Election: From Web Presence to E-Campaigning?

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Abstract:

This article argues that the use of the Internet by the main British political parties during the 2005 general election campaign needs to be understood in terms of the ongoing transformation of e-campaigning in the UK. Since the emergence of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s the main political parties have been quick to try and exploit the new technology to mobilise their supporters and persuade undecided voters. Over the course of three campaigns – 1997, 2001 and 2005 - clear patterns in the use of this technology have emerged. This article looks at how political parties in a competitive electoral marketplace try to adapt new information and communication technologies, such as the Internet, to help ensure they achieve their electoral goals. It argues that the evolution of the use of the Internet needs to be understood in terms of an ongoing series of responses of a vote maximising reflexive organisation, to the emergence of a new technology in a competitive electoral marketplace.

Keywords: CAMPAIGNING; ELECTIONS; INTERNET; POLITICAL PARTIES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725705775194094

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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