Selective online exposure and political polarization during Swedish election campaigns
1. Selective online exposure and
political polarization during
Swedish election campaigns
a longitudinal analysis using four waves of panel data
Peter M. Dahlgren
2. Selective online exposure
• Internet is a high-choice media environment
• Personal motivations increasingly important in news selection
• Prefer attitude-consistent news, but don’t avoid attitude-inconsistent
• Political ideologies more salient during elections
Examine how political ideology and selective exposure mutually
reinforce over time, and whether they become more extreme
More selective exposure more ideologically extreme
Less selective exposure less ideologically extreme
Selective exposure over time?
Role of political interest?
• Panel survey during five months in the 2014 EU and Swedish
national election: ”super election year”
• Random sample
• 2,281 (33%) completed all waves
Wave 1 Wave 2 Wave 3 Wave 4
May 22–25 September 14May 26–June 4April 11–22 August 1–13 September 15–24
No support for political ideology and selective exposure
mutually reinforcing and becoming more extreme over time.
Individuals exposed to attitude-inconsistent news get slightly
less extreme (but mostly moving toward right).
High political interest: more extreme political ideology, and
more exposure to attitude-inconsistent news.