Influence of Social Networks in the Decision to Vote

Daniel Barredo Ibáñez, Carlos Arcila Calderón, Jesús Arroyave, Roxana Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The popularization of the Internet and the adoption of social media have brought major changes in the way of doing politics and managing the public arena. There is extensive scientific literature confirming the relationship between the use of new media and electoral political participation (Willnat et al, 2013; Lee and Shin, 2014; Ceron et al, 2014.). The aim of this study is to determine the mechanism by which using social networks influences the decision to vote. Ecuadorian citizens (n= 3,535) took part in an exploratory survey during the first half of 2013. The authors tested the measures and scales included in the questionnaire for validity and reliability; and they used a moderated mediation model (Hayes, 2013) based on regression. Results show that positive influence of using social networks on the decision to vote is not given directly, but rather through the search for information and need for political deliberation. In this mediation process, the indirect effect is in turn negatively moderated by age (the effect is stronger in young people). It is argued that despite the influence that networks may have on the behavior of voters, traditional factors related to the search for political information in more conventional means (e.g. radio or TV) seem to have a more significant effect. The authors explain both theoretical and practical implications. Finally, they address the study's limitations regarding the representativeness of the sample and suggest testing the model in other political and cultural contexts.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-34
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Political Economy
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 22 2015

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