Does Social Media Make a Difference in Political Campaigns? Digital Dividends in Brazil's 2010 National Elections

Center for Communication and Civic Engagement Working Paper No. 2013-2

23 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2013 Last revised: 4 Jul 2014

See all articles by Jason Gilmore

Jason Gilmore

University of Washington

Philip N. Howard

University of Washington - Department of Communication; University of Washington - Henry. M. Jackson School of International Studies; University of Washington - The Information School; University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute; University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Date Written: June 3, 2013

Abstract

Over the past decade, digital and mobile media have significantly changed the system of political communication in Brazil. An increasing number of Brazilian candidates have begun to use websites and social networking applications as an integral part of their overall campaign efforts. To explore how these "new" media tools are used at all levels of campaigns for national office, we built an original dataset of media use by political campaigns in the 2010 elections in Brazil. We investigate factors such as a candidate's use of web and social networking sites in conjunction with other traditional influences such as incumbency and party affiliation in order to get a robust understanding of the different roles that digital media tools are beginning to play in Brazilian elections. Does digital media provide some competitive advantage to minor party candidates facing off against major party candidates with higher profile and more resources? Do challenger candidates get any electoral advantage against incumbents for using the internet, social media, or mobile media strategies in their campaigning? In almost every instance, the incumbents who lost their office invested less in internet, social, and mobile campaign strategy than other incumbents who won. Winning challenger candidates in every level of government had more aggressive digital media campaigns than losing candidates. Social media strategies particularly using mobile technologies, provided newcomers with electoral advantages. Social networking applications proved particularly important for successful Senate campaigns, and mobile media strategies made a dramatic difference for the lower House of Deputies.

Suggested Citation

Gilmore, Jason and Howard, Philip N., Does Social Media Make a Difference in Political Campaigns? Digital Dividends in Brazil's 2010 National Elections (June 3, 2013). Center for Communication and Civic Engagement Working Paper No. 2013-2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2273832 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2273832

Jason Gilmore (Contact Author)

University of Washington

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

Philip N. Howard

University of Washington - Department of Communication ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States
2062216532 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.philhoward.org

University of Washington - Henry. M. Jackson School of International Studies ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

University of Washington - The Information School ( email )

Box 353350
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

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