Getting Out the Vote in the Social Media Era: Are Digital Tools Changing the Extent, Nature and Impact of Party Contacting in Elections?

24 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2013

See all articles by Rachel K. Gibson

Rachel K. Gibson

University of Manchester

Marta Cantijoch

University of Manchester

Tobias Konitzer

Duke University

John Aldrich

Duke University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The arrival of the internet and email, and more recently social media or web 2.0 technologies has provided parties and candidates with a range of new and more personalized ways to engage in voter contacting. This paper seeks to measure the extent of these new online forms of contact in the U.S. 2012 Presidential election and UK 2010 General Election and compare them with more traditional offline methods. In a second step we seek to measure the effect of these new forms of contact on individual political behaviour, specifically in terms of whether they increased the likelihood of voting and engagement in other campaign activities. We do so using a combination data sources that include the American National Election Study, an original survey of online political behaviour conducted in the UK 2010 campaign and the 2010 British Election Study. Our findings show that online contact constitutes a small proportion of that received by voters in both countries, particularly in the case of the UK.. Offline methods still remain most popular. Furthermore indirect online contact (i.e. mediated through social networks) is more common than that coming directly from the campaign. In terms of mobilization, online contacting (direct or indirect) makes little difference to turnout although it does appear to be linked with undertaking a range of wider campaign activities.

Suggested Citation

Gibson, Rachel K. and Cantijoch, Marta and Konitzer, Tobias and Aldrich, John, Getting Out the Vote in the Social Media Era: Are Digital Tools Changing the Extent, Nature and Impact of Party Contacting in Elections? (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2301063

Rachel K. Gibson (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Marta Cantijoch

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Tobias Konitzer

Duke University ( email )

No Address Available

John Aldrich

Duke University - Department of Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
919-660-4346 (Phone)

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