DemCP colloquium - MARTIJN SCHOONVELDE: "Do Candidates Signal Policy Priorities or Constituency Engagement? Examining Campaign Communication on Twitter in the Irish General Elections of 2020"
|When:||We 18-05-2022 16:00 - 17:30|
Research colloquium of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics
Martijn Schoonvelde (University of Groningen)
Do Candidates Signal Policy Priorities or Constituency Engagement? Examining Campaign Communication on Twitter in the Irish General Elections of 2020
Twitter has become an essential tool for candidates seeking election. It provides candidates with a direct line of communication to outside audiences and allows them to build a public profile by posting content that emphasises their electability and policy skills as politicians. Taking the 2020 Irish General Election as our case, this study seeks to examine how Twitter is used by candidates to signal campaign effort and policy priorities. In a series of experiments, we first demonstrate that a supervised machine-learning approach that relies on sentence models can successfully capture differences in how candidates present themselves online. Second, our empirical results provide partial support for our pre-registered hypotheses. More competitive candidates put more emphasis on policy content. Compared with candidates who ran previously, less experienced candidates prioritise electioneering tweets. Against our expectations, we fail to detect substantively meaningful differences between male and female candidates. Our results illustrate how candidates employ multi-modal online communication strategies to build a public persona during electoral campaigns.
About the speaker
Martijn Schoonvelde is an Assistant Professor European Politics & Society at University of Groningen with an interest in political communication, political psychology and text analysis methods. In his work, he examines the communication and rhetoric of politicians in an often fragmented and polarised political landscape. Furthermore, as part of the OPTED H2020 consortium he works on making computational text analysis methods more accessible for social science researchers whose work relies on languages other than English.