Ditching the pack: Digital media in the 2010 Braziliancongressional campaigns

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Political Communication Division, National Communication Association


New Orleans, LA

Publication Date



Over the past decade Brazil has become well known for its open embrace of new media technologies. In tandem, an increasing number of Brazilian candidates have begun to use web and social media sites as an integral part of their overall campaign efforts. The present study is the first effort at large-scale modeling of these relationships in an emerging Latin American democracy. To explore the relationship between using digital media in a candidate’s political campaign strategy and voter support, I built an original dataset of the 2010 elections for the lower house of the Brazilian Congress. I investigate factors such as a candidate’s use of web and social networking sites in conjunction with other traditional influences such as candidate gender, age, incumbency, party affiliation, coalition membership and campaign spending. I demonstrate that having a robust web presence and using social media, holding other factors constant, can be a significant contribution to the popularity of a candidate on election day in an open-list proportional representation electoral system such as that in Brazil. Additionally, I demonstrate how this digital media campaign tactic might be specifically beneficial to traditionally disadvantaged candidates in bridging the gap of their under-representation in Brazilian politics.

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