Mobilizing Effects of Online Campaigning

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3.5.12, E-Politics and E-Campaigning, SE 1.5: Mobilizing Effects of Online Campaigning (Marianne Fraefel) #CeDEM12

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Mobilizing Effects of Online Campaigning

  1. 1. Mobilizing Effects of OnlineCampaigning – The Swiss CaseMarianne Fraefel – Cedem, Krems, 03.05.2012
  2. 2. Introduction Party internal communication inform / mobilizeCampaign management Voluntary enagementCommunication strategies Political enagement Channels Supply Demand websites social media E-campaigning 2 Cantonal elections 2009/2010 3 cantons 5 parties Image: twin72.typepad.com
  3. 3. Swiss cantonal partiesSemi direct democratic political system with pronounced federal structures Competences and right of self-determination of Swiss cantons are far-reaching Campaigning in elections and popular votes (up to 4 times a year)Decentralised structure of Swiss party system Large number of small and heterogeneous party units at local level Cantonal and local parties contribute to establishing linkage to party baseCantonal political parties as organizations Mainly self-financing through member fees and donations Limited budgets & limited paid staff Reliance on voluntary work Approximately 4% of Swiss residents active in political parties (Freiwilligen-Monitor 2010) Around ¼ of party members engage themselves as volunteers (Freiwilligen-Monitor 2007) 4
  4. 4. MethodologyThree perspectives and methods1. Semi-structured interviews: 25 campaign managers2. Content analysis: party websites - cantonal parties: 15, local parties: 27, cantonal youth sections:133. Survey: party base - distributed: 9472, response: 1989, considered: 1920 - female: 31%, male: 69% / candidates: 14%, non-candidates: 86% - age: 30% 20% 10% participants in survey (n=1920) 0% below 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 over 80 5 20
  5. 5. Functions and design of party internal communication Functions - content-oriented vs. activity-oriented mobilization Communicative strategies and target groups - Relate to parties‟ expectations of supporter base (distribution of tasks) - Relate to assumed engagement of supporter base (necessity of mobilization) Information Supporter base (plus electorate at large) Mobilization Supporter base: voting for party / viral campaigning Activists: candidature, party stands, flyers etc Design of internal campaign communication - Broad range of communication channels - Target-specific communication towards younger voters 6
  6. 6. Supply side of e-campaigningParty websitesHeterogeneous use and design Differences relate to size and type of party unitFocus on InformationOpportunities are not fully exploited Continuous communication on demand Multimedia design Participation Generating resources (members, donations) Information on campaign and candidates Mobilizing volunteer campaigners Popular votes: 36% signature lists (similar across types of party units) Elections: 38% campaigning material (mainly cantonal parties) 7
  7. 7. Supply side of e-campaigningSocial MediaUsage Confined to Facebook and different video platforms Presence on social networks differs across types of party units mainly cantonal and youth parties relates to resources (know how, staff/time) Experimental usage and restricted interaction Candidates‟ presence is not systematically promotedAssessment by campaign managers Heterogeneous and tentative Based on assumptions and personal experience 8
  8. 8. Demand side of e-campaigningCommunicative preferences of the supporter base Traditional channels and mediated communication are highly appreciated Acceptance of online communication diminishes with age Differences between social media and other online communication channels 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% -29 30-44 40% 45-59 30% 60+ 20% 10% % social e-newsletter personal e- party stands phone calls networks mail 9
  9. 9. Demand side of e-campaigningSources of information on elections Many channels are equally important for all age groups Party websites are more important to the younger supporter base Supporter base at large considers a “professional” Internet presence as important, irrespective of personal usage100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% -29 40% 30-44 30% 45-59 20% 60+ 10% % party office party stand local web site information friends and media in other n=1790 party event newspaper n=1788 via mail family general 10 n=1790 n=1790 n=1790 n=1790 n=1332
  10. 10. Demand side of e-campaigningParty websitesUsage More than half of the members and supporters use party websites at least once a year The percentage of (regular) users is clearly bigger among the younger supporter base.Mobilization information on elections and popular… 81% party information in general 68% calendar party events 60% contact information 45% information on party representatives 42% download signature lists 30% download / disseminate campaign… 16% order e-newsletter 11% type of usage video- / audio party 6% n=1365 party intranet 5% blog / discussion forum 5% donation information 4% order party press 4% 11 other 3%
  11. 11. Demand side of e-campaigningSocial MediaConnectivity Parties do not necessarily pursue a social media strategy Mismatch between demand and supply side of communication Overall demand for contact via social media is rather small (n=245) Supply Demand Channel contact via channel not at all / rather not rather / very much no 31% 6% Party press yes 69% 94% no 73% 29% E-newsletter yes 27% 71% no 99% 66% Social Media yes 1% 34% 12
  12. 12. Demand side of e-campaigningSocial MediaUsage Many members and supporters are not & cannot be reached through this channel 23% of the surveyed persons have at least one profile in a social networkMobilization - Supporter base uses social networks to engage themselves in e-campaigning (44%) - Candidates use social networks in the context of their party affiliation more actively political persusasion - elections and 56% popular votes 16% exchange with other members and 32% supporters 19% candidates non-candidates 16% coordination dates / events 7% 13 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%
  13. 13. Relevance of e-CampaigningVoluntary CampaigningActive volunteers among supporter base Relevance of e-campaigning in relation to other campaigning activities % of candidates % of non-candidatesCampaigning activity n=259 n=1625Campaigning committee, action group 51% 8%Presence at party stand 76% 13%Distributing posters, flyers 77% 24%Discussions with family, friends 78% 57%Online campaigning 41% 6%Donating for campaign 52% 38% Motivation Parties„ general appeals to become active in campaigning work as a driver 14 Personal invitations to engage in certain activies work as strong driver (including e-campaigning)
  14. 14. Relevance of e-CampaigningVoluntary CampaigningPotential volunteers among supporter base 1/3 of inactive members and supporters can potentially be mobilized Motivation / Conditions Being personally addressed by party (48%) Activities in a limited time frame / with little efforts (49%) activity performed from home (22%) being provided with campaigning material (14%) Affordances could be met by using ICT in a target and goal oriented way 15
  15. 15. Mobilizing effects of e-CampaigningContent-oriented mobilization Exploitation of opportunities in e-campaigning relates to size and type of party units Parties lack knowledge on communicative preferences of their supporter base Parties and supporter base both make use of a broad range of communication channels Communicative preferences and behaviour differ across age groups Specific online communication channels are clearly more important to younger supportersActivity-oriented mobilization - Addressing volunteer campaigners adequately is important for inciting engagement - Parties‟ support for voluntary e-campaigning is limited - In relation to other voluntary campaign activities, e-campaigning plays a subordinate role - There is an interest for instruments that allow supporters to become active as multipliers - Some supporter groups engage themselves in e-campaigning more extensively 16
  16. 16. Concluding remarksParties need to stay tuned to their supporters Trends towards eroding party bases and increase in volatile votersCommunicative demands are diversified Parties need to find ways to address voters and support their volunteers adequately with limited resourcesFocus on already active members and supporters Communicative affordances may differ with view to the electorate at large Voluntary e-campaigners may contribute to integrating new supporters communicativelyWhat next? ICT may lead to reassessing prevalent concepts of membership and voluntary engagement 17
  17. 17. Thanks for your attentionContactMarianne FraefelBerner Fachhochschule WirtschaftMorgartenstrasse 2a, Postfach 305CH-3000 Bern 22marianne.fraefel@bfh.chwww.e-government.bfh.ch 18

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