Tag GLES

New Publication: “Characterizing Political Talk on Twitter”

Oliver Posegga and I have a new paper out in the the Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). In Characterizing Political Talk on Twitter: A Comparison Between Public Agenda, Media Agendas, and the Twitter Agenda with Regard to Topics and Dynamics we compare lists of prominent topics in newspapers, television, survey responses, and on Twitter during an election campaign. These comparisons speak to the different mediating processes of political reality on different media. Our findings indicate that it is futile to expect social media services to mirror political reality or the coverage of politics in legacy media truly. Instead, it appears more fruitful to use differences in the reflection of political reality across different sources to develop a better understanding of common or divergent mediating processes between sources.

Abstract: Social media platforms, especially Twitter, have become a ubiquitous element in political campaigns. Although politicians, journalists, and the public increasingly take to the service, we know little about the determinants and dynamics of political talk on Twitter. We examine Twitter’s issue agenda based on popular hashtags used in messages referring to politics. We compare this Twitter agenda with the public agenda measured by a representative survey and the agendas of newspapers and television news programs captured by content analysis. We show that the Twitter agenda had little, if any, relationship with the public agenda. Political talk on Twitter was somewhat stronger connected with mass media coverage, albeit following channel-specific patterns most likely determined by the attention, interests, and motivations of Twitter users.

Our findings indicate that:

“political talk on Twitter is distinct from public opinion on the most pressing political topics and political media coverage. Although political talk on Twitter shares topics with political media coverage, we find a communication environment characterized by the attention, interests, and motivations of politically vocal Twitter users. These mediating factors led political talk on Twitter to deviate in strength and dynamics from political coverage in mass media. On Twitter, therefore, we find a political communication environment interconnected with more traditional spaces of political communication but also following its own channel-specific dynamics.”

Source: Oliver Posegga and Andreas Jungherr (2019). Characterizing Political Talk on Twitter: A Comparison Between Public Agenda, Media Agendas, and the Twitter Agenda with Regard to Topics and Dynamics. In HICSS 52: Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. University of Hawaii at Manoa: Scholarspace. p. 2590-2599. DOI: https://hdl.handle.net/10125/59697.

Syllabus: Explaining Political Behavior and Attitudes through Political Psychology

For this spring semester, I designed a new course introducing students to the use of concepts from political psychology and political sociology in explaining political behavior and attitudes. The course is a mix of theory and practical exercises.

In the first part of the course, students are introduced to a selection of central concepts and their operationalization in publicly available data sets from the USA and Germany like the American National Election Studies (ANES) and German Longitudinal Election Studies (GLES). In the second part, students are asked to use these concepts and datasets in individual research projects. The aim of the course is to introduce students to translating theoretical concepts into operationalizations and examine them through simple data analyses. Here is the syllabus.

Readings:

Background Readings:
Basbøll, T. Research as a Second Language.
Berinsky, A. J. (Ed.). 2016. New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge.
Clawson, R. A. & Z. M. Oxley. 2013. Public Opinion: Democratic Ideals, Democratic Practice. 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Cottam, M. K., E. Mastors, T. Preston, & B. Dietz. 2015. Introduction to Political Psychology. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Routledge.
Kabacoff, R. I. R in Action: Data Analysis and Graphics with R. 2nd ed. Shelter Island, NY:
Manning.
Kaplan, D. T. (2012). Statistical Modeling: A Fresh Approach. 2nd ed. Project MOSAIC.

Ideology
Federico, C. M. 2016. The Structure, Foundations, and Expression of Ideology. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 81-103).
Federico, C. M. & C. V. Hunt. 2013. Political Information, Political Involvement, and Reliance on Ideology in Political Evaluation. Political Behavior 35(1): 89-112.
Neundorf, A. 2011. Die Links-Rechts-Dimension auf dem Prüfstand: Ideologisches Wählen in Ost- und Westdeutschland 1990-2008. In: R. Schmitt-Beck (Ed.). Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 45: Wählen in Deutschland. Baden-Baden: Nomos (S. 234-257).

Race
Czaja, E., J. Junn, & T. Mendelberg. 2016. Race, Ethnicity, and the Group Bases of Public Opinion. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 104-123).
Lee, T. 2008. Race, Immigration, and the Identity-to-Politics Link. Annual Review of Political
Science 11: 457-478.
Wüst, A. M. 2011. Dauerhaft oder temporär? Zur Bedeutung des Migrationshintergrunds für Wahlbeteiligung und Parteiwahl bei der Bundestagswahl 2009. In: R. Schmitt-Beck (Ed.). Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 45: Wählen in Deutschland. Baden-Baden: Nomos (S. 164-185).

Gender
Burns, N., A. E. Jardina, D. Kinder, & M. E. Reynolds. 2016. The Politics of Gender. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 124-145).
Box-Steffensmeier, J. M., S. de Boeff, & T. M. Lin. 2004. The Dynamics of the Partisan Gender Gap. American Political Science Review 98(3): 515-528.
Giger, N. & S. Huber. 2015. Der Einfluss des Geschlechts auf Kandidatenbeurteilungen: Eine experimentelle Studie zu Kontexteffekten und individuellen Faktoren in Deutschland. In: T. Faas, C. Frank, & H. Schoen (Eds.). Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 50: Politische Psychologie. Baden-Baden: Nomos (S. 333-359).

Political Partisanship
Hetherington, M. 2016. Partisanship and Polarization in Contemporary Politics. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 146-164).
Carsey, T. M. & G. C. Layman. 2006. Changing Sides or Changing Minds? Party Identification and Policy Preferences in the American Electorate. American Journal of Political Science 50(2): 464-477.
Neundorf, A., D. Stegmueller, & T. J. Scotto. 2011. The Individual-Level Dynamics of Bounded Partisanship. Public Opinion Quarterly 75(3): 458-482.

Personality
Mondak, J. J. & M. V. Hibbing. 2016. Personality and Public Opinion. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New
Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 165-185).
Gerber, A. S., G. A. Huber, D. Doherty, C. M. Dowling, C. Raso, & S. E. Ha. 2011. Personality Traits and Participation in Political Processes. The Journal of Politics 73(3): 692-706.
Schoen, H. & M. Steinbrecher. 2013. Beyond Total Effects: Exploring the Interplay of Personality and Attitudes in Affecting Turnout in the 2009 German Federal Election. Political Psychology 34(4): 533-552.

Religion
Campbell, D. E., G. C. Layman, & J. C. Green. 2016. A Jump to the Right, A Step to the Left: Religion and Public Opinion. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 232-257).
Barker, D. C. & C. J. Charman. 2000. The Spirit of Capitalism? Religious Doctrine, Values, and Economic Attitude Constructs. Political Behavior 22(1): 1-27.
Roßteutscher, S. 2011. Die konfessionell-religiöse Konfliktlinie zwischen Säkularisierung und Mobilisierung. In: R. Schmitt-Beck (Ed.). Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 45: Wählen in Deutschland. Baden-Baden: Nomos (S. 118-140).

Group Identity
Abdelal, R., Y. M. Herrera, A. I. Johnston, & R. McDemott. 2009. Identity as a Variable. In: R. Abdelal, Y. M. Herrera, A. I. Johnston, & R. McDemott (Eds.). Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press (17-32).
Sylvan, D. A. & A. K. Metskas. 2009. Trade-offs in Measuring Identities: A Comparison of Five Approaches. In: R. Abdelal, Y. M. Herrera, A. I. Johnston, & R. McDemott (Eds.). Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press (72-109).
McClain, P. D., J. D. Johnson Carew, E. Walton, Jr., & C. S. Watts. 2009. Group Membership, Group Identity, and Group Consciousness: Measures of Racial Identity in American Politics? Annual Review of Political Science 12: 471-485.