Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Title

Are followers following through? A study of voter mobilization efforts since the introduction of social media

Publication Date

Spring 2022

Department

Political Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Nathan Griffith

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Campaign digital spending has increased significantly in recent election years. As more and more campaigns are shifting their focuses to social media and digital advertising, there is a curiosity about whether this effort is yielding results. There have been several studies about how face-to-face contact promotes higher turnout rates and how more impersonal methods, while still effective, are less significant. However, there is little known about how social media falls into this spectrum, somehow between personal and impersonal. This research looks at digital campaigning compared to these more traditional voter mobilization efforts. The efforts studied included door-knocking, direct mail, grassroots events, and phone banking. The data was collected from campaign professionals about campaigns at various levels from the state house to U.S. Senate in elections from 2014-2020. The hypothesis is that findings of the study will indicate that social media while more effective than impersonal direct mail, remains less effective than the highly effective door knocking.

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