Studies of candidates’ and parties’ web use during elections have focused primarily on the contents of their websites and the reasons behind the adoption of the technology. Evaluations of the electoral impact of web campaigns on voters have been limited and inconclusive. This study uses data from the 2004 Australian Candidate and Election studies to investigate the factors determining candidates’ use of web campaigning and its effect on the vote. The findings show that enthusiasm for web campaigning is strangest among established party members. More significantly, we show that despite being linked with traditional campaigning techniques, web campaigning exerts an independent and significant impact on the level of electoral support that a candidate receives. We investigate how this effect may be taking place and conclude that web campaigning, at least under present electoral conditions, constitutes an important component of a winning election strategy
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