Vol. 13 No. 2 (2020): Spring 2020
Articles

Twitter and India's 2019 Lok Sabha Election: Comparing Indian National Parties' Campaign Strategies on Twitter

The mighty Himalayas are now visible from Pathankot, Punjab. Thanks to super visibility and no pollution.
Published June 15, 2020
How to Cite
Jin, X. (2020). Twitter and India’s 2019 Lok Sabha Election: Comparing Indian National Parties’ Campaign Strategies on Twitter. Cornell Internation Affairs Review, 13(2), 155-182. https://doi.org/10.37513/ciar.v13i2.551

Abstract

India’s 2019 Lok Sabha Election was one of the largest democratic elections in the world. During this election, candidates used social media to reach out to voters and advertise their policy initiatives. In this paper, I examine how India’s major parties differ in their campaign strategies on Twitter with respect to their general tweeting patterns, policy prioritizations, and messages to underrepresented voters. To conduct this research, I adopt three methods— LASSO Logistic, Mutual Information, and Keywords Subsetting—to uncover policy initiatives in tweets. My findings suggest that India’s major parties and their leaders differ in their tweeting frequency, choice of language, and the number of times they mention one another. They not only prioritize different sets of policies in their tweets, but also shift their priorities over time in response to major political events. Finally, parties and politicians also differ in the messages they deliver to underrepresented voters. The data collected from candidate and party tweets highlights a clear set of policy initiatives addressing traditionally marginalized voters.

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