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Tweeting to PowerThe Social Media Revolution in American Politics$

Jason Gainous and Kevin M. Wagner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199965076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199965076.001.0001

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(p.161) Appendix

(p.161) Appendix

Tweeting to Power
Oxford University Press

(Operationalization of all variables not described in the text or footnotes)

  • Internet Use: About how often do you use the Internet or email from . . . (1) work, (2) home—several times a day, about once a day, 3–5 days a week, 1–2 days a week, every few weeks, less often, or never? These two items were scaled so that higher values reflected more Internet use and then summed to create a two-item index.

  • Attentiveness: (1) We’re interested in how people used their cell phones during the recent political campaign, in addition to talking to others on your phone. Again thinking about just your cell phone, in the months leading up to the election, did you use your cell phone to keep up with news related to the election or politics, or did you not do this?, (2) and (3) Please tell me if you ever use the Internet to do any of the following things. Do you ever use the Internet to . . . (get news online, look online for news or information about politics or the 2010 campaigns)? These three items were summed to create an index (α = 0.57).

  • Partisanship Strength: In politics TODAY, do you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat, or independent? (those who volunteered no preference, other party, or don’t know were imputed). Independents were asked: As of today do you lean more to the Republican Party or more to the Democratic Party? We then coded partisans as a 2, leaners as a 1, and independents as a 0.

  • Demographics: Age (self-reported and collapsed into an ordinal scale representing quartiles), income (self-reported and collapsed into an ordinal scale representing quartiles), education (What is the last grade or class you completed in school?–(1) None, or grades 1–8, (2) High school incomplete (grades 9–11), (3) High school graduate (grade 12 or GED certificate), (4) Technical, trade or vocational school AFTER high school, (5) Some college, no 4-year degree (includes associate degree), (6) College graduate (BS, BA, or other 4-year degree), (7) Post-graduate training/professional school after college (toward a Masters/PhD, Law or Medical school). We collapsed the first four categories (= 1), some college, no 4-year degree (= 2), and collapsed the last two categories.

  • Propensity to Join Groups:

(1–14) I’m going to read you different types of groups and organizations in which some people are active. Please tell me if you are currently active in any of these (p.162) types of groups or organizations, or not. (First/Next,) are you currently active in any . . . ?

  • a. Community groups or neighborhood associations

  • b. Church groups or other religious or spiritual organizations

  • c. Sports or recreation leagues, whether for yourself or for your child

  • d. Hobby groups or clubs

  • e. Performance or arts groups, such as a choir, dance group, or craft guild

  • f. Professional or trade associations for people in your occupation

  • g. Parent groups or organizations, such as the PTA or local parent support group

  • h. Youth groups, such as the Scouts, YMCA, or 4-H

  • i. Social or fraternal clubs, sororities or fraternities

  • j. Veterans groups or organizations such as the American Legion or VFW

  • k. Literary, discussion or study groups, such as a book club or reading group

  • l. Charitable or volunteer organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity or the Humane Society

  • m. Consumer groups, such as AAA [Triple A] or coupon sharing groups

  • n. Farm organizations

There were two possible responses: (1) Yes, active, and (2) No, not active. All affirmative responses were coded as a 1 and negative responses as a 0.

(15–27) I’m going to read you another list of groups and organizations in which you might or might not be active. Are you currently active in any . . . ?

  • a. Travel clubs

  • b. Sports fantasy leagues

  • c. Gaming communities

  • d. National or local organizations for older adults, such as AARP

  • e. Political parties or organizations

  • f. Ethnic or cultural groups

  • g. Labor unions

  • h. Support groups for people with a particular illness or personal situation

  • i. Alumni associations

  • j. Fan groups for a particular TV show, movie, celebrity, or musical performer

  • k. Fan groups for a particular sports team or athlete

  • l. Fan groups for a particular brand, company, or product

  • m. Environmental groups

These also had two possible responses: yes and no. Again, these were coded as 0 for the negative and 1 for the affirmative. All 27 items were then summed to create a single index (α = 0.79).

• Online Political Participation: There are many different activities related to the campaign and the elections that a person might do on the Internet. I’m going to read a list of things you may or may not have done online in the months leading up to the November elections. Just tell me if you happened to do each one, or not. (First,) did you . . . ? (Next,) did you . . . in the months leading up to the election? (p.163)

  • a. Contribute money online to a candidate running for public office

  • b. Look for information online about candidates’ voting records or positions on the issues

  • c. Use the Internet to participate in VOLUNTEER activities related to the campaign—like getting lists of voters to call, or getting people to the polls

  • d. Share photos, videos, or audio files online that relate to the campaign or the elections

  • e. Send e-mail related to the campaign or the elections to friends, family members, or others

  • f. Use the Internet to organize or get information about in-person meetings to discuss political issues in the campaign

  • g. Take part in an online discussion, listserv, or other online group forum like a blog, related to political issues or the campaign

Respondents were given a yes/no option. We coded yes as 1 and no as 0 and then summed these items to construct an index (α = 0.67).

• Vote: A lot of people have been telling us they didn’t get a chance to vote in the elections this year on November 2. How about you . . . did things come up that kept you from voting, or did you happen to vote? (Yes, voted = 1, No, did not vote = 2) (p.164) .