The Online Battlefield: How Conflict Frames in Political Advertisements Affect Political Participation in a Multiparty Context

Emma van der Goot*, Sanne Kruikemeier, Rens Vliegenthart, Jeroen de Ridder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article examines how politicians’ conflict framing strategies in online campaign advertisements affect citizens’ political participation in a multi-party context. We rely on a unique combination of innovative research methods to do so, including a four-wave panel survey, a content analysis of Facebook browser-tracking data and a mobile experience sampling survey with data donations. All data were collected during the 2021 Dutch general elections. We find that conflict framing can discourage citizens from engaging in low-effort forms of political participation, such as discussing politics, signing a petition and visiting political websites. The results show that conflict frames can demobilize citizens because they lower enthusiasm and are perceived as less informative. Our study provides insights into the potential unintended consequences of using conflict framing as a campaign strategy in a multi-party setting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • conflict framing
  • negative campaigning
  • online political advertising
  • political participation

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