Internet Use and Political Participation of American Youth: The Campaign of 2008

Internet Use and Political Participation of American Youth: The Campaign of 2008

Jody C. Baumgartner (East Carolina University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-933-0.ch007
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This chapter examines the relationship between the use of the Internet for campaign information and two dimensions of the political engagement of young adults. Drawing on data from a national survey of 18-24 year olds conducted online during the 2008 presidential campaign, it shows that the effect of Internet use for campaign information on political engagement among youth was marginal. While these young adults did take advantage of opportunities to participate on the Internet, reliance on the Internet for campaign information had no significant effect on knowledge about the campaign or more traditional types of political participation. Despite the promise the Internet holds for increasing political interest and participation, those youth who relied on the Internet as their primary source of campaign information did not seem any more inclined to participate in politics than others in their cohort.
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There have been any number of studies in the past decade examining the relationship between various measures of Internet access and/or exposure and political engagement (political knowledge, political efficacy, and participation; for excellent reviews, see Norris, 2001; Dimaggio, Hargittai, Neuman, Robinson, 2001).

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