2004
Volume 42, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1384-6930
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7286

Abstract

…But does it win you votes? The impact of politicians’ Twitter usage during the Dutch parliamentary elections in 2012

…But does it win you votes? The impact of politicians’ Twitter usage during the Dutch parliamentary elections in 2012

One of the most relevant questions for campaigners and politicians is: what determines the number of votes a candidate gets? Recent studies have shown that usage of social media such as Twitter might have a (modest) impact on the number preference votes of a candidate. However, these studies used data on elections in which only a very limited group of politicians used Twitter. In such a context it was easy for a candidate to stand out. It remains to be seen whether this effect also holds in times of widespread usage. This study examines the impact of Twitter use in the Dutch 2012 national elections and as such replicates previous studies in a changed context. This provides new test to assess whether there (still) is an impact of social media usage on preference votes. It uses a unique dataset of all 531 candidates of the parties that won at least one seat in the 2012 election. Between 2010 and 2012, Twitter use skyrocketed: the number of candidates having an account increased from 34.1 to 75.5% and the average number of tweets increased from 3.6 to 9.7 per politician a day. In this new context of widespread Twitter usage, there seems to be a modest effect of tweeting. Comparing these results to those of previous studies suggests that in 2012 the situation was more equalized: more candidates seemed to have something to win, but the number of extra votes that Twitter yielded, was considerably lower. As such it seems that the competition has become much fiercer.

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2014-03-01
2022-05-19
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