First-time voters and electoral campaigns: Explaining online engagement in Romania
Keywords:online, political engagement, candidates, first-time voters, campaigns
This article aims to explain why young people engage politically with their preferred candidates during electoral campaigns. It uses an original survey conducted on first-time voters — as a group of heavy Internet users — in the 2019 Romanian presidential elections to identify determinants of such a behavior. Our statistical analysis argues and tests the explanatory power of three categories of determinants: importance of politics, information, and general political participation. We find that online engagement with a preferred candidate is an extension of young people’s regular activities on social media. It is driven by a genuine interest in what happens in politics and is the result of high levels of information. Online engagement of young people is not random, cannot be associated with boredom, and goes beyond clicktivism.
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