Term of Award

Summer 2001

Degree Name

Master of Political Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Charles W. Gossett

Committee Member 1

Patrick J. Novotny

Committee Member 2

Karen McCurdy

Abstract

Technology and changing lifestyles have made a great impact on the way political campaigns are run. Over the last ten years, campaigns have had to adapt and change in order to reach the voters. This research project aims at seeing how and why these changes have occurred and what effect they have had on how political campaigns are run.

The goal of this thesis is to examine the techniques that have changed in political campaigns from the 1990 election to the 2000 election. In order to obtain my data, I interviewed six political consultants. Specifically, the six changes that I was concerned with were the demographic shift of population from the nation's cities to suburbs, the purchasing of advertisements from local stations, changes in polling, the impact of Internet campaigning, new techniques in advertisement preparation, and the growth of political advocacy groups.

The major finding from this study is that technology is making it harder for candidates to get their message out. Consultants have had to change their old ways of reaching the people. No longer do political consultants place all of their advertising on one of the nation's network stations. The consultants relayed to me during the intendews I conducted that they were not using test groups like the scholarly literature reports they are. The Internet is not being used as much of a medium tool outside of the campaign, instead as an internal campaign communications tool. Ads, mainly negative ads, are being prepared in advance. Also, the rise in political advocacy groups has not had that positive of an effect on campaigns.

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