Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

William Boone, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Hashim Gibrill, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Fragano Ledgister, Ph.D.

Abstract

This behavioral study examines the users’ engagement on social networking[ sites (SNS) in electoral races for public office in relation to their act of voting. This study was based on the premise that when certain criteria are met then SNS can be used as a predictive tool. The initial technique used was observations of the tools/functions on SNSs such as the “Like” button, favorable comments, retweets, friends/followers. Another technique used was surveys administered to individuals at political rallies, political debates, and college campuses to further analyze if their online engagement in politics translates to their physical participation. A quantitative case study analysis approach was used to analyze data gathered. Results of the data collected suggest that there is a positive relationship between online engagement and physical participation. The conclusion drawn from the findings suggests that SNS can be used as a predictive tool when examining electoral races for public offices.

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