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Candidates are also frequently using interviews on late night television to get messages out. Soft news, or infotainment, is a new type of news that combines entertainment and information. Shows like The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight make the news humorous or satirical while helping viewers become more educated about the events around the nation and the world.

“Public Knowledge of Current Affairs Little Changed by News and Information Revolutions,” Pew Research Center , April 15, 2007.
In 2008, Huckabee, Obama, and McCain visited popular programs like The Daily Show , The Colbert Report , and Late Night with Conan O’Brien to target informed voters in the under-45 age bracket. The candidates were able to show their funny sides and appear like average Americans, while talking a bit about their policy preferences. By fall of 2015, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert had already interviewed most of the potential presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump.

The Internet has given candidates a new platform and a new way to target voters. In the 2000 election, campaigns moved online and created websites to distribute information. They also began using search engine results to target voters with ads. In 2004, Democratic candidate Howard Dean used the Internet to reach out to potential donors. Rather than host expensive dinners to raise funds, his campaign posted footage on his website of the candidate eating a turkey sandwich. The gimmick brought over $200,000 in campaign donations and reiterated Dean’s commitment to be a down-to-earth candidate. Candidates also use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to interact with supporters and get the attention of younger voters.

Voter decision making

When citizens do vote, how do they make their decisions? The election environment is complex and most voters don’t have time to research everything about the candidates and issues. Yet they will need to make a fully rational assessment of the choices for an elected office. To meet this goal, they tend to take shortcuts.

One popular shortcut is simply to vote using party affiliation. Many political scientists consider party-line voting to be rational behavior because citizens register for parties based upon either position preference or socialization. Similarly, candidates align with parties based upon their issue positions. A Democrat who votes for a Democrat is very likely selecting the candidate closest to his or her personal ideology. While party identification is a voting cue, it also makes for a logical decision.

Citizens also use party identification to make decisions via straight-ticket voting    —choosing every Republican or Democratic Party member on the ballot. In some states, such as Texas or Michigan, selecting one box at the top of the ballot gives a single party all the votes on the ballot ( [link] ). Straight-ticket voting does cause problems in states that include non-partisan positions on the ballot. In Michigan, for example, the top of the ballot (presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial and representative seats) will be partisan, and a straight-ticket vote will give a vote to all the candidates in the selected party. But the middle or bottom of the ballot includes seats for local offices or judicial seats, which are non-partisan. These offices would receive no vote, because the straight-ticket votes go only to partisan seats. In 2010, actors from the former political drama The West Wing came together to create an advertisement for Mary McCormack’s sister Bridget, who was running for a non-partisan seat on the Michigan Supreme Court. The ad reminded straight-ticket voters to cast a ballot for the court seats as well; otherwise, they would miss an important election. McCormack won the seat.

Questions & Answers

What is government mean?
Benedict Reply
compare and contrast a federalist system of govt to a confederate system
Jewles Reply
how does one separate from State or government
Joni Reply
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Ich Reply
what is liberty
Luna Reply
You feel free and you decide and do and achieve the right for you
was the Bill of rights a necessary addtion to the constitution?
noor Reply
So, if I'm clear a member of the Congress CANNOT live in the state they represent?
Jeremy Reply
what is government
Seth Reply
why is today's government so corrupt?
Julius Reply
what type of government does American practice?
Joshua Reply
what type of government does American practice
Representative Democracy
Democratic Republic
what is communalism
Yarhere Reply
suppression of the people and their rights.
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debbie Reply
which political party has had the most sucess
Damion Reply
In what ways can the media change the way a citizen thinks about government?
Justin Reply
subliminal messages through the converged technological devices. and sourced profiles
Which of the following is not an agent of political socialization?
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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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