Battleground Blog: Analyzing the 2006 U.S. Senate Campaign Blogs through the Lenses of Issue Ownership, Agenda setting, and Gender Differences
English, Kristin Nicole
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The 2006 Congressional elections included some of the closest elections in recent history. Party control was on the line in both houses of Congress. As a result, candidate message strategies were subject to intense scruntiny by media and voters alike since each election played a significant role in determining which party would control the Senate. This thesis employs a content analysis of ten candidate-controlled blogs from five 2006 U.S. Senate elections to evaluate candidate issues, incumbent and challenger strategies, and message tactics used by the candidate to reach a wide classification of voters. The entire population of posts from the ten candidate blogs (N = 474) was included in this analysis. The thesis assesses candidate blog strategies and candidate gender difference through the theoretical perspectives of the issue ownership framework, agenda setting, and incumbent and challenger strategies. Findings show little evidence of intercandidate agenda setting through blogs, general adherence to assumptions of the issue ownership framework, and offer foundations for future communication research focused on candidate blogs. Recommendations for future research include a more expansive study of all campaign blogs as well as an intermedia agenda setting study to measure systematically the influence of blogs on other media.
- Masters Theses