“If you follow me, I might (mis)lead you”
Following prime ministerial candidates on social networks as a predictor of the public agenda during an election campaign
This study investigates the effects of the two leading prime ministerial candidates’ personal Facebook and Twitter accounts and the effects of exposure to the general social media and web discourse in Hebrew on voters’ agendas during Israel’s April 2019 election. All the posts that appeared on the contenders’ accounts at a point in time in each of the four pre-election campaign weeks were analyzed to identify prominent issues. Social media and web content in Hebrew were also analysed over the same period. The data was compared with 2,217 responses to questionnaires completed on the four dates. The questionnaires also surveyed voters’ political orientations and the likelihood of their following the candidates’ accounts. The results revealed a significant correlation between contenders’ and voters’ agendas. However, significant differences were identified in agendas between those respondents who followed both leading candidates, those who followed a single candidate, and those who followed neither.
Keywords: agenda setting, social media, elections, candidates’ accounts on social media, voting intention, social media following patterns
Published online: 21 September 2021
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