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The Obama Effect: The Perception of Campaigning 2.0 in Swedish National Election 2010

Anne Kaun
Södertörn University
Carina Guyard
Södertörn University
Anne Kaun
Södertörn University
Open Panel

Abstract

This chapter presents a survey study on attitudes towards political campaigning in social media. During the national election in Sweden in 2010, a considerable amount of resources was invested in online communication with the constituency, not least in social media. Whereas several studies have focused on e-democracy at a macro level, there is a lack of studies examining the phenomenon of campaigning 2.0 as it is perceived by the actual voters. This chapter, therefore, asks the question whether the voters noticed the political campaigning in social media at all, and if so, how they perceived it. The main findings are that respondents who were already interested and politically engaged considered campaigning 2.0, in line with the politicians’ rhetoric, as a way to enhance democracy. Respondents who were neither interested nor engaged in politics, on the other hand, showed little interest in this kind of communication. Consequently, the study confirms assumptions about digital divide and continued fragmentation of the citizenry.