Study Shows Internet Not Likely to Affect 2000 Vote
UTICA, N.Y. Despite enough information on Web sites to choke a donkey or an elephant, the Internet isn’t likely to make a difference in the presidential election — this year. Preliminary results of a Syracuse University study show politicians increasingly are turning to the Net to interact with constituents, and as more and more people log on, the potential to influence voters online grows. But it isn’t expected to sway the presidential vote this year. “If (the Internet) is going to make a difference, this is not the year,” says Steve Davis, an associate professor at the university’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Davis and a team of colleagues are studying the role of the information super-highway in presidential campaigns by analyzing politics and news Web sites and their users. Sites being studied include candidates’ pages, CNN.com, nytimes.com and vote-smart.org. There’s an “underlying hope” that the Net will get more people involved in elections, but so far that isn’t the case, Davis says. “There are so many indications of politics going in the wrong direction right now as far as voter interest goes,” he says. “I think it just shows the Internet isn’t going to get people excited about politics.”For example, the number of people who visited online news sites dropped during this year’s Republican National Convention, Davis says. Davis also says Internet forums and message boards aren’t likely to affect this year’s election results, nationally or locally.
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