Internet use and political attitudes in Europe

Clelia Colombo, Carol Galais, Aina Gallego

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


© Cambridge University Press 2012. Introduction Political attitudes are relevant for a variety of reasons. Interested and critical citizens can actively monitor their government's activities and thus foster accountability. People who think that they are able to influence government are more likely to participate in politics, vote in elections, and follow political news. Thus, the level of political interest or efficacy of a population is critical to the proper working of democratic countries. However, political attitudes vary widely cross-nationally and are undergoing profound changes in advanced industrial democracies (Dalton 2002, 2008; Pharr and Putnam 2000; Norris 1999b). In this chapter we use different approaches to investigate the extent to which digital media contribute to shape some relevant political attitudes. First, we look at the impact of internet use on political attitudes from a large cross-national perspective. This is a novel contribution to the literature on digital politics. Because most of the core works in this field deal only with the United States or a limited range of other case studies, we lack a reliable comparative picture of the relationship between internet use and political attitudes. To do this, we use the European Social Survey and examine the link between internet use and political attitudes in fifteen European countries. Then, we consider in depth a particular case, Spain, analyzing both quantitative evidence (survey data from fall 2007) and qualitative data (from focus groups carried out in fall 2008).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Media and Political Engagement Worldwide: A Comparative Study
Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Study
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781139108881
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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