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The Internet and Electoral Behaviour. Rachel K. Gibson and Ian McAllister Australian National University 30th May 2005, Parliament House . Rachel.Gibson@anu.edu.au Ian.McAllister@anu.edu.au. Australian Election Study Voter Surveys. Australian Candidate Study Surveys.

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the internet and electoral behaviour

The Internet and Electoral Behaviour

Rachel K. Gibson and Ian McAllister Australian National University

30th May 2005, Parliament House.

Rachel.Gibson@anu.edu.au

Ian.McAllister@anu.edu.au

trends in election campaigns
Trends in Election Campaigns

• General political interest has increased…

• …but campaign involvement has declined

• …volatility has increased

• …and attention to traditional media sources has declined

growth in audience for online election news and info 1998 to 2004
Growth in Audience for Online Election News and Info: 1998 to 2004

Qu: Did you make use of the internet at all to get news or information about the 2004 federal election?

Source: Australian Election Studies 1998, 2001, 2004

2004 online election information internet users
2004 Online Election Information: Internet Users
  • Have access but did not use 82%
  • Have access and did use 18%
  • Once or twice 8%
  • Several times 5%
  • Many times 5%

N =1,160

Source: Australian Election Study 2004

where are online users going for news and information
Where are online users going for news and information?

Online info seekersInternet users

  • Party sites 27% 5%
  • Own MP’s site 11% 2%
  • Candidate in electorate 9% 2%
  • Candidate (other) 7% 2%
  • Federal parliament 12% 3%
  • AEC site 30% 8%
  • Fun/political humour 23% 5%
  • Opinion poll 20% 5%
  • Mainstream news 51% 12%
  • Blog 6% 1%

N=208 N=1,160

Source: Australian Election Study 2004

candidates use of the internet for election news and info in 2004
Candidates use of the Internet for election news and info in 2004

Qu: Did you make use of the internet at all to get news or information about the 2004 federal election?

Source: Australian Candidate Study 2004

where are candidates going for online news and information
Where are candidates going for online news and information?
  • Own Party sites 89%
  • AEC site 80%
  • Mainstream news 64%
  • Own MP’s site 62%
  • Other candidate in electorate 50%

N=535

Source: Australian Election Study 2004

candidate websites in 2001 and 2004
Candidate websites in 2001 and 2004

2001 Overall sample size = 477

37% candidates reported having personal website (N=169/455)

2004 Overall sample size = 535

32% candidates reported having personal website (N=165/518)

who ran a campaign website in 2001 and 2004
Who ran a campaign website in 2001 and 2004?

Qu: Did you maintain a personal website on the internet as part of your election campaign in the electorate?

Source: Australian Candidate Study 2004

factors predicting use of campaign website in 2004
Factors predicting use of campaign website in 2004

Multivariate analysis - variables of significance

  • Party - Green
  • Age - Younger
  • Legislative experience - Incumbents
  • Chamber - Lower House
effect of website on candidates electoral support in 2004
Effect of website on candidates’ electoral support in 2004

Multivariate analysis - variables of significance

  • Incumbent - increases vote by 13% on average
  • Party experience - every year member of party increase vote on average 0.7%
  • Party activities - for every extra 1 hour per week increase vote by 0.1%
  • Preparation time - for every extra month of preparation increase vote by 0.3%
  • Website - if have a website increase vote by 4%
why is the website increasing the vote
Why is the website increasing the vote?
  • Indirect Effects
    • Web as a proxy for candidate preparedness/professionalism?
    • Web as a proxy for high media coverage?
    • Web as a proxy for other intangible quality of good candidate?
  • Direct Effects
    • 12% of public using Internet for election info. were affected by they saw?