Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science, MA

Committee Chair

Gainous, Jason

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Enders, Adam

Committee Member

Enders, Adam

Committee Member

D'Silva, Margaret

Author's Keywords

Social media; political fear; fear


Abstract: Using the American National Election Study data from the 2012 and 2016 surveys I explore how social media usage shapes fear. This is likely caused by the nature of social media leading to oversharing of sensationalized articles likely to elicit an emotional and fearful response. My findings suggest first that social media usage has a statistically significant effect on whether they would say they are afraid of a candidate (2012) and how afraid they say they are of the candidates (2016). Second, social media has little effect on economic fear, and may actually make people more hopeful about the economy. Third, that this effect is strongest amongst millennial voters.