In the ideal world, all voters create the perfect democracy by voting through rational choice: logically comparing the available candidates, and selecting the one they perceive to best promote the public good. However, this is not always the case, and the rise of social media news has brought new levels of fear and distrust into the polls. In this piece, I will be examining whether those who reported getting their news from social media are likely to vote for a politician because of their fears. I will be using data collected by the 2020/21 edition of the Chapman Survey of American Fears, a national survey with over 1,000 participants, all of voting age. There is a strong correlation between the two variables, with the interesting addition of a high volume of fear based voting amongst those who consume no social media news whatsoever. However, those who range from getting their news from social media “once or twice a month” to “everyday” fall into a pattern of increased voting based on fear. I will additionally be including data regarding the correlation between fearing corrupt government officials and viewership of social media news, because a significant amount of psychology and media research reveals fear mongering media tactics to be a powerful tool for swaying more moderate voters. As social media use continues to increase, it is incredibly relevant to examine its effect on voters’ increasing fear and distrust of the government.
Haskell, Emilie, "What Are You Scared Of? How Social Media News Consumption Impacts Voter Fear" (2022). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 528.