Digital media and the 2010 Brazilian national elections

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Conference on Internet, Voting and Democracy by the Center for the Study of Democracy


Laguna Beach, CA

Publication Date



Over the past decade, digital and mobile media have significantly changed the system of political communication in Brazil. An increasing number of Brazilian candidates have begun to use websites and social networking applications as an integral part of their overall campaign efforts. To explore how these "new" media tools are used at all levels of campaigns for national office, we built an original dataset of media use by political campaigns in the 2010 elections for the lower house of the Brazilian Congress. We 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 in order to get a robust understanding of the different roles that digital media tools are beginning to play in Brazilian elections. In this chapter we ask two questions. First, does digital media provide some competitive advantage to minor party candidates facing off against major party candidates with higher profile and more resources? Second, do challenger candidates get any electoral advantage against incumbents for using the internet, social media, or mobile media strategies in their campaigning?

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