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Internet effects in times of political crisis: online newsgathering and attitudes towards the European Union

Baccini, Leonardo, Sudulich, Maria Laura and Wall, Matthew (2016) Internet effects in times of political crisis: online newsgathering and attitudes towards the European Union. Public Opinion Quarterly, 80 (2). pp. 411-436. ISSN 0033-362X

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Identification Number: 10.1093/poq/nfv055


This paper evaluates the influence of online news consumption on attitudes towards the European Union in a context of protracted economic crisis. Using data from the 2011 Irish National Election Study, we combine location-specific information on broadband availability with respondent geo-location data, which facilitates causal inference about the effects of online news consumption via instrumental variable (IV) models. We find that Irish citizens who source political information online are more prone to blame the EU for the poor state of the economy than those who do not. We find evidence of preference reinforcement among those with negative predispositions towards the EU, but not among pro-EU citizens. We complement this analysis with a study of voting behaviour in the European Fiscal Compact Referendum, employing a similar methodological approach. The results from this second survey confirm the anti-EU influence of online news consumption among Irish citizens, although we find suggestive evidence of a pro-EU effect among voters who browsed the website of the politically neutral Irish Referendum Commission. Our paper contributes to the literature on public opinion, the EU, and political attitudes in times of crisis.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2015 08:36
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 03:19

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