Helping populism win? Social media use, filter bubbles, and support for populist presidential candidates in the 2016 US election campaign

Jacob Groshek, Karolina Koc-Michalska
2017 Information, Communication & Society  
Undoubtedly, populist political candidates from the right and the left, including Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders changed the tenor and direction of the 2016 presidential contest in the US. Much like Barack Obama's electoral successes that were credited at least in part to his savvy social media campaigning in 2008 and 2012, since Trump's victory, the notion that social media "helped him win" has been revitalized, even by Trump himself (McCormick, 2016a) . This study therefore explores citizen
more » ... e explores citizen support for populist and establishment candidates across the ideological spectrum in the US to specifically examine if using social media was related to an increased likelihood of supporting populist presidential political candidates, including Trump. Differing forms of active, passive, and uncivil social media were taken into account and the findings suggest active social media use for politics was actually related to less support for Republican populists, such as Trump, but that forms of both passive or uncivil social media use were linked to an increase in the likelihood of support to a level roughly equivalent to that of the traditional television viewing. These patterns are almost the inverse of support for Democratic populists, in this case namely Sanders.
doi:10.1080/1369118x.2017.1329334 fatcat:xogfjzwyerebtllvecdinzdkz4