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Student experiments on political campaigns

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During the course of Political Campaigns on the Internet students had been given  a project to compare influence of the Internet medium on two voting methods: direct elections (France) and 2 phases elections of local and the national level (USA). A learning class had been divided into 4 groups: residents of France, residents of USA and two control groups. Each group consisted of 6 members.

Each of the group selected one single leader. The France group used Social Networks to reach the largest amount of potential voters and convince them to vote for their candidate. The group built fans groups and initiated a dialog with the potential voters. The discussion issues reflected both local and national themes.

The USA group designed a local oriented approach when voters had been clustered into local geographical groups and local issues had been strengthened.  4 local candidates had been selected from the group which should choose the final candidate for Presidency. The group used methods of Social Networks contacts, impersonal physical gatherings and weekly updates through newsletters.

Both groups informed their potential voters about the “elections Day” and asked them to fill up an elections survey and send it back within 24 hours. Results of the experiment show a clear advantage of participation of the Internet medium for a 2-phased election, as voters’ turnout had been doubled in comparison to the direct voting method.

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