Author: Mahon, Victoria
Online activism is an important new form of political participation. The internet and social media have opened new avenues for gathering information and exchanging ideas. However, we know that not everyone takes advantage of this opportunity, though many people do enthusiastically and frequently participate in political activities online. Who participates in online activism and why? This study builds on existing studies looking at the relationship between political ideology and online activism. While much research has been done on political ideology and other forms of political participation, we have an incomplete understanding of ideology's relationship with online participation. This paper contributes to this literature by exploring how political ideology relates to online political participation. Since online participation is such a prevalent new form of political participation, understanding who chooses to participate is key to knowing how to facilitate these democratic discussions. Using publicly available survey data from the American National Election Study and the European Social Survey, I find that, in both the US and EU contexts, the far left and far right are significantly more likely to engage in online participation than those in the centre. In both datasets, the far left participates more than the far right, and this is especially true in the EU context.
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Thesis advisor: Weldon, Laurel
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