In this study, we analyze whether the mere volume of presence in mass media and the mere volume of activity on social media convey advantages to candidates in parliamentary elections. Based on the theoretical model of bounded rationality, we call these potential effects brute force effects. During the last month of the election campaign of the Swiss federal election of 2015, we have tracked the presence of all 873 candidates in the canton of Zurich, the most populous canton, in a broad sample of mass media. Additionally, we have tracked those candidates’ activity on Facebook and Twitter. The results of our multilevel Bayesian estimates show that mass media presence has a consistent non-trivial impact on different aspects of electoral outcome. Furthermore, social media activity also has a non-trivial impact, but only in terms of resonance (reactions to candidates’ social media activity). Overall, our results suggest that brute force effects of mass media presence and social media activity can have substantial impact on voting behavior.
Link to article in journal
Kovic, M., Rauchfleisch, A., Metag, J., Caspar, C., & Szenogrady, J. (2016). Brute force effects of mass media presence and social media activity on electoral outcome. Journal of Information Technology & Politics. Online first