Social Media Campaigns for Voting Advice Applications: Effects and Implications

Political Ideology
Susumu Shikano
Universität Konstanz
Susumu Shikano
Universität Konstanz
Theresa Küntzler
Universität Konstanz

The users of voting advice applications (VAAs) have shown to be over proportionally male, young, and left-leaning as compared to the whole electorate. Furthermore, those actively searching for a VAA show higher political interest and knowledge. Such evidence has crucial implications for the idea of VAAs as an educational and informational tool for the politically less involved and knowledgeable. To counter this situation, VAAs have continuously tried to disseminate themselves to a larger public via various channels. Besides the conventional mass media, many VAAs have recently utilized the social network media. However, their effects and implications on the composition of users are still underinvestigated. To fill the gap, we systematically investigate the difference between two user groups: those, who actively searched for the tool and those, who were attracted via a social media-advertisement. Our analysis should enable us to answer at least two important questions: (1) Do the groups differ in their socio-demographic composition? (2) Do the groups differ with respect to an ideologically coherent preference structure within and between different topics? The latter is also a relevant question since VAAs usually utilize a spatial representation by assuming a certain degree of coherent preference structure. For the analysis, we utilize ParteieNavi, a VAA for the 2017 German federal election, which was promoted via facebook campaign in order to reach out to more users.
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"In all forms of Government the people is the true Legislator" - Edmund Burke

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