Democrats, GOP adjust shutdown strategy from social media

Oct. 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Sorting out details of the federal government shutdown is trickier because social media allow for quick changes in political strategy, a U.S. researchers said.

Heather LaMarre, assistant professor of strategic communication at Temple University's School of Media and Communication in Philadelphia, says Republicans and Democrats are tapped into social media, where citizens are expressing their opinions on a platform unavailable during the last shutdown in the mid-1990s.

"You can be sure that both parties are closely monitoring the the digital public sphere, carefully measuring public sentiment and quickly adjusting their strategies in response to public perceptions," LaMarre says in a statement.

The longer the federal government shutdown goes on, the more the two political parties are stepping up their performances in a game of political theater that is risky for everyone involved, LaMarre says.

"The political posturing is getting stronger by the day as Democrats and Republicans try to win over public opinion, but if people begin to see that all essential services are still being provided and the government shutdown has not disrupted their daily lives, the Republicans stand to come out ahead, especially given the problems being experienced with the [Affordable Care Act] exchanges," LaMarre said.

LaMarre says Democrats are betting outrage over the closing of government parks and services will sway public opinion, while the GOP hopes its stand on the Affordable Care Act will ignite its supporters.

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