How Twitter helped Greek election candidates win

Welcome to the latest in my occasional series highlighting interesting findings from academic research. Today – another study on the impact of Twitter on election campaigns.

As with the last one I covered on this topic, this one also finds a positive impact for tweeting candidates:

The aim of this paper is to study the influence of Twitter on candidates’ electoral performance, in the context of the 2019 Greek Parliamentary election. We are particularly interested in candidates’ Twitter activity and visibility. We apply an innovative method of analysis of each candidate’s potential reach, taking into account the followers and the followers of retweeters for each candidate and the number of tweets they were able to see. In this way, we explore whether the visibility of a candidate on Twitter is related to his/her electoral performance. We also control for other factors, such as intra-party competition, previous political experience, candidates’ name recognition, and so on. Findings suggest that among other factors (e.g. previous parliamentary experience), Twitter visibility has a significant positive effect on candidates’ electoral performance, especially when the candidates are already recognizable by the public.

Evangelia Kartsounidou, Dimitra Papaxanthi & Ioannis Andreadis, “Measuring the impact of candidates’ tweets on their electoral results”, Journal of Information Technology & Politics (2022), DOI: 10.1080/19331681.2022.2069181 (pdf here)

Each individual study has its limitations, especially given the difficulties in separating out cause and effect (are more successful candidates more likely to tweet or are candidates who tweet more likely to be successful?). But the consistency of the picture across different studies is strongly suggestive. 

You can read the other posts in the Evidence-based campaigning: what the academic research says series here and if you use Twitter for politics yourself, you may find TweetShelf rather handy.

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