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The voice of the youth: How personalized politics on social media affect youth voter turnout

Hölscher, Kira (2020) The voice of the youth: How personalized politics on social media affect youth voter turnout.

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Abstract:Introduction: Over the last decades, scholars have criticized and investigated the continuous decline of voter turnout among young adults in Western societies, as it threatens the concept of a representative democracy. With the generational gap widening, the youth is significantly under-represented in the political dimension. In order to ensure future stability of the democratic system, it is crucial to mobilize the youth. Aim: Generally, personalized politics in previous literature refers to the strategy politicians use to present themselves as individuals due to their use of social media. Thus, previous literature demonstrates a research gap regarding personalized politics in a manner that utilizes personalized political campaign communication as a tool to engage with and mobilize the youth in elections. Therefore, the aim of this research was to explore the effects personalized messages can have on behavioural political engagement and voting intentions among young adults legible to vote. Method: This study was conducted by means of an online survey. A total of 147 participants with ages ranging from 18 to 28 participated in the survey. To analyze the data, reliability analyses, analyses of variance for each dependent variable, and linear regression analyses for the moderator were conducted. Results: The results showed that personalized political messages increased voting intentions and political engagement among the sample. There was no significant moderation effect of political interest on voting intentions and political engagement found. Conclusion: In order to ensure well-functioning democracy in Western societies, it is crucial to mobilize the youth and encourage them to partake in elections. With the rise of technologies and social media, plenty aspects of daily life are subject to personalization. Hence, efforts to make politics more personalized could be used to re-introduce young adults to institutionalized politics. Therefore, personalized democracy might be the beginning stages of a new generation of politics, which adapts to the digital shift in society. The effort of innovating personalized political campaigns to include young adults in the political dimension and adapting to their forms of political activism can be an effective endeavour during electoral campaigns. Hence, the durability of the democratic system could be ensured through a process of adjusting electoral campaign strategies over time.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies BSc (56615)
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