We began with two basic questions: How do candidates use the Internet to communicate with voters? Do these messages reinforce or alter the attitudes and behavior of voters? The evidence from our interviews, our analyses of Web site content, our surveys, and our laboratory experiments across the country provide some answers to these questions. At this point, we need to reiterate those answers and provide an interpretation.
Our first question is answered simply: Candidates clearly are incorporating the Internet into campaigns. Web sites are standard in candidate campaigns for federal or statewide office. In addition, candidates are employing e-mail communication to reach those voters who may not visit their sites. But Web sites and e-mail communication serve as supplemental tools rather than as replacements for traditional campaigning. The effect is an integrative one: Campaigns fold the Internet's functions into traditional campaign activities. For example, site visitors are encouraged to volunteer online, but what they are volunteering for are traditional campaign outreach efforts. Another example is use of the Web site or e-mail to perform the traditional campaign