Date on Senior Honors Thesis

5-2018

Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name

B.A.

Department

Political Science

Author's Keywords

campaign; social media; mobilization; political support

Abstract

Since the turn of the Century, Social Networking Sites (SNSs) have become a normal part of most modern American lives. As this has happened, we have seen a spillover of the entertainment and informational nature of these sites into the American political system. Specifically, these sites are used to build support, gain votes and seats, and mobilize political movements by gaining attention and recognition on these sites. Much study has gone into how effective these online campaigns are in doing their job of gaining different kinds of support, but few, if any, have studied how these sites could be used as a tool to gain support and votes for a single candidate. In the current study, a review of recent literature is given, and we then study the campaign of a politician seeking a city council seat of a large mid-east American city. Specifically, we use a SNS campaign on Facebook in the months preceding the primary election, sending promotional messages about the candidate to likely voters in the candidate’s district. We then measure if this campaign leads to an increase of “likes” to the candidate’s Facebook page, if this indication had any relation to the likelihood that these voters would actually go vote, and finally if Sex or age plays a part in certain aspects of the data.

Lay Summary

An overview of how online political campaigns, specifically those used on social media such as Facebook, affect political outcomes and voter mobilization, followed by a detailed study testing the effectiveness of said online campaigns.

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