When Methodology Interferes With Substance: The Difference of Attitudes Toward E-Campaigning and E-Voting in Online and Offline Surveys
For campaigners, and also attendant researchers, the advent of the Internet has challenged established ways of doing their respective campaign business. Practitioners, used to running local and media campaigns, can nowadays also resort to elements of web campaigning, while electoral researchers, used to running election studies based on personal or telephone interviews, can now employ online surveys to do their business. However, e-campaigning and online polling suffer from severe deficiencies. Based on online and offline surveys conducted in the run-up to the 2002 German election, we show two things. First, online surveys yield biased results; second, e-campaigning reaches only a tiny fraction of the electorate, which is due to not only the imperfect dispersion of the Internet but also a lack of interest in political web sites among voters. Taken together, the Internet is—at least for time being—confined to adding supplementary elements to the established procedures of campaigning and polling.
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