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Untangled Web: Internet Use during the 1998 Election

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

David A. Dulio
American University
Donald L. Goff
American University
James A. Thurber
American University


During the 1996 election cycle, candidates for public office began to use the Internet as a campaign tool (Browning 1996; Casey 1996; Rash 1997). As Internet use grew among the general population, it was reasonable to expect that the 1998 election cycle would see increased use of this new medium by political candidates, and new methods and techniques developed to exploit its capabilities.

In increasing numbers, House and Senate candidates campaigned along the information superhighway in 1998. While very few candidates had web sites in previous elections (Browning 1996), by October 1998 more than two-thirds of the candidates for U.S. Senate and for U.S. House open seats had established web sites. In the past, candidate web sites were little more than digital yard signs (Casey 1996). In 1998, candidates made use of their sites to solicit small-dollar contributions however better, particularly by using them.

Like it or not, the Internet is now a campaign tool that many campaigns employ. Therefore, we believe the manner in which it is used needs to be investigated. In this article we pay particular attention to candidates' solicitation of campaign contributions over the Internet. Our analysis is mostly descriptive as we try to summarize the Internet activity of candidates in a sample of Senate and House races during 1998.

Research Article
Copyright © The American Political Science Association 1999

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Funding for this research was provided, in part, by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Campaign Management Institute in a grant focused on “Improving Campaign Conduct.”


Names of authors appear in alphabetical order.


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