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When they go low, we go high : or not? Gender differences in negative campaigning on social media in party-centered systems

Elise Storme (UGent)
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Abstract
Based on the dual trend of more women running for office and campaigns becoming more negative, we can ask ourselves how gender affects the attack strategies of political actors. Studies underline the differential use of negative campaigning between male and female candidates and how both experience different pay-offs. However, existing research focuses solely on the United States and, therefore, a system with candidate-centered campaigns, weak party organizations, and winner-takes-all competitions. This paper wants to address these shortcomings by proposing Belgium, known for its strong parties and low gender stereotype presence, as a least-likely case. We conducted a quantitative content analysis of 11.440 Tweets sent by 286 politicians holding a realistic position on the ballot during the 2019 regional and Federal elections. Bivariate and multivariate results show strong confirmation that these gender differences in negative campaigning are indeed replicable in a Western European party-centered context as women are significantly less likely to go negative, and critical differences are noticeable between the male and female tendency to opt for policy-based versus trait attacks.
Keywords
Negative campaigning, Social media, Gender, Twitter, Elections, Content analysis

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Citation

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MLA
Storme, Elise. “When They Go Low, We Go High : Or Not? Gender Differences in Negative Campaigning on Social Media in Party-Centered Systems.” 11th Conference Belgium : The State of the Federation Conference, Proceedings, 2022.
APA
Storme, E. (2022). When they go low, we go high : or not? Gender differences in negative campaigning on social media in party-centered systems. 11th Conference Belgium : The State of the Federation Conference, Proceedings. Presented at the The State of the Federation Conference, Brussels, Belgium.
Chicago author-date
Storme, Elise. 2022. “When They Go Low, We Go High : Or Not? Gender Differences in Negative Campaigning on Social Media in Party-Centered Systems.” In 11th Conference Belgium : The State of the Federation Conference, Proceedings.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Storme, Elise. 2022. “When They Go Low, We Go High : Or Not? Gender Differences in Negative Campaigning on Social Media in Party-Centered Systems.” In 11th Conference Belgium : The State of the Federation Conference, Proceedings.
Vancouver
1.
Storme E. When they go low, we go high : or not? Gender differences in negative campaigning on social media in party-centered systems. In: 11th conference Belgium : the State of the Federation Conference, Proceedings. 2022.
IEEE
[1]
E. Storme, “When they go low, we go high : or not? Gender differences in negative campaigning on social media in party-centered systems,” in 11th conference Belgium : the State of the Federation Conference, Proceedings, Brussels, Belgium, 2022.
@inproceedings{01GN02MHQXVPJ096DYZ5JSZ73K,
  abstract     = {{Based on the dual trend of more women running for office and campaigns becoming more negative, we can ask ourselves how gender affects the attack strategies of political actors. Studies underline the differential use of negative campaigning between male and female candidates and how both experience different pay-offs. However, existing research focuses solely on the United States and, therefore, a system with candidate-centered campaigns, weak party organizations, and winner-takes-all competitions. This paper wants to address these shortcomings by proposing Belgium, known for its strong parties and low gender stereotype presence, as a least-likely case. We conducted a quantitative content analysis of 11.440 Tweets sent by 286 politicians holding a realistic position on the ballot during the 2019 regional and Federal elections. Bivariate and multivariate results show strong confirmation that these gender differences in negative campaigning are indeed replicable in a Western European party-centered context as women are significantly less likely to go negative, and critical differences are noticeable between the male and female tendency to opt for policy-based versus trait attacks.}},
  author       = {{Storme, Elise}},
  booktitle    = {{11th conference Belgium : the State of the Federation Conference, Proceedings}},
  keywords     = {{Negative campaigning,Social media,Gender,Twitter,Elections,Content analysis}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  location     = {{Brussels, Belgium}},
  pages        = {{18}},
  title        = {{When they go low, we go high : or not? Gender differences in negative campaigning on social media in party-centered systems}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}