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Ana S. Cardenal, "Why mobilize support online? The paradox of party behaviour online," Party Politics, 19 (January, 2013), 83-103. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
The internet is increasingly being perceived by parties and candidates as an effective tool for political mobilization. The 2000 elections in the US have been depicted as the elections signalling the beginning of a new era in political campaigning, marked by the use of the internet as an effective tool for mobilization (Bimber and Davis, 2003; Kamarck, 2002). Scholars and experts have gone so far as to attribute Obama's victory in the 2008 election to his use of the internet. While this is questionable, it is undeniably true that through the use of new media Obama was able to mobilize an unprecedented amount of resources that helped him in his campaign to win the presidency. In the 2004 Spanish elections, for the first time parties used the internet in their campaigns in a serious way. The video of Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the Spanish Popular Party, asking citizens to give their opinions on many salient issues of the campaign marked an important breakthrough in the use of the internet for political campaigning by the Spanish parties.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Evolution of internet audience in Spain and Catalonia (% of users)
Table 1. Classification of Parties by Size, Cohesion and Organization
Table 2. Mean performance in the variables measuring website effectiveness by size, cohesiveness and organization
Table 3. Truth table
Figure 2. Party location and performance in the five categories measuring website effectiveness
Appendix A. Items within the five categories of the mobilization index
Appendix B. Parties included in the analysis

Last Paragraph:
Despite the capacity of the argument for illuminating empirical findings from other political contexts, however, there are also some limitations concerning its potential for travelling across different countries. The main limitation concerns the fact that institutional contexts not only shape party characteristics but, more importantly for the sake of the theory's validity, they interact with these characteristics to shape parties' structure of incentives. In other words, the benefits and costs of using the internet for political mobilization may vary for different parties depending on the institutional context. In this sense, we need more studies testing the argument for other political contexts, and examining how party characteristics in different institutional contexts shape party incentives to use online mobilization. By putting the argument to the test in other political contexts we could gain a lot more knowledge concerning the interplay of institutional contexts and party characteristics and the ways in which they both interact to shape party incentives to use the internet for political mobilization.

Last updated December 2012