The Dissemination of Social Media to Campaigns for State Legislature: The 2012 New England Case
27 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2013
Date Written: 2013
This study examines the adoption and dissemination of internet hosted technology tools in state level campaigns. More specifically, it analyzes and compares which candidates were the most likely to adopt a website, Facebook and Twitter in the 2012 elections for the six New England state senate campaigns. The research hypotheses draw primarily from the diffusion of innovation literature. Our predictive models for the 333 major party candidates in these races indicate that adoption rates for these media lag significantly behind those for Congressional campaigns. We also find considerable variation among the six states, with Massachusetts having the highest and Rhode Island the lowest rates. The only variable that explains adoption of the oldest technology, websites, is the average adoption rate for all senate candidates in a given state. That average is also a significant influence on Facebook and Twitter adoption. A candidate’s adoption of a previous new technology is a significant influence on his or her adoption of the next newest technology (websites for Facebook, Facebook for Twitter). Democrats and incumbents are significantly more likely to adopt Facebook than Republicans or those contesting open seats or challengers, but these are not significant for websites or Twitter.
Keywords: diffusion of innovation, social media, online campaigns, state elections, campaign strategy
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