Empirical support for the media participation hypothesis: Trends across presidential elections, 1992–2012
Bucy, Erik P.
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This study empirically examines the media participation hypothesis advanced by Bucy, analyzing the influence of traditional and participatory media use across six US presidential elections. Multivariate analyses of American National Elections Study data demonstrate that as participatory media become more prevalent and utilized in an electoral system, corresponding and statistically significant increases in political system efficacy—the perception of governmental responsiveness—can be observed among the heaviest users of participatory media. Enhanced engagement with interactive media in combination with traditional media also translates into more positive assessments of democratic processes than use of traditional media alone. At the same time, increased engagement with participatory media shows a weak and negative association with political trust. Findings for the study uphold the basic tenets of the hypothesis, suggesting the framework provides a useful lens for understanding the tightening relationship between citizenship, use of communication technology, and democratic processes.