Article published in:Re/constructing Politics Through Social & Online Media: Discourses, ideologies, and mediated political practices
Edited by Michał Krzyżanowski and Joshua A. Tucker
[Journal of Language and Politics 17:2] 2018
► pp. 324–342
Online negativity in Canada
Do party leaders attack on Twitter?
Negative campaigning emphasizes what is wrong with an opponent, in terms of policy or personality. American research shows that negative campaigning online has become entrenched. The objective of this paper is to provide an empirical account of the amount and condition of negative messages produced on Twitter by Canadian party leaders. The data comes from a content analysis of tweets in two elections held in 2011. This paper has two research questions: first, what is the tone of Twitter communication? Is there differential use of Twitter by incumbents and challengers in terms of tone? Despite expectations, the data shows Canadian party leaders infrequently attack opponents on Twitter; less than 10% of tweets are negative. This said, we do find evidence that challengers are more likely than incumbents to go negative on Twitter. The paper concludes by considering the implications of this finding for future research on online negativity.
Keywords: negative campaigning, Twitter, party leaders, Canada
Published online: 16 October 2017
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