Negative Campaigning in Indonesia. The Effects of Attack Messages on Voting Behavior

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Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 05 September 2019


Coombs Ext 1.13


Salvatore Simarmata


Salvatore Simarmata

Salvatore Simarmata speaks on Negative Campaigning in Indonesia. The Effects of Attack Messages on Voting Behavior - at his PhD Seminar.

Politicians have used negative campaigning since the very early of Indonesian democracy in the 1955 election, but it has become harsher and massive in recent elections due to the changes in political, electoral, and media systems in Indonesia. Not only official campaigns, but also unofficial sources are involved in a ruthless attack politics. In particular, there is an increasing trend of campaigning around identity politics and personalization of attacks to paint opponents in an unfavourable light and mobilize supporters by using social media platforms in addition to the traditional media. However, little is known how the negative campaigns affect voting behaviour in the direct election era of Indonesian democracy. This thesis aims to fill the gap by systematically investigating the use of negative campaigning in the 2019 presidential and 2020 local elections. Using mixed methods design (quantitative and qualitative), this research will investigate the production, distribution, and reception of negative campaign based on multiple data sources (online media, news stories, experts, and voters) and test the effect of attack messages on voters’ understanding of issues, evaluation of candidate and vote choice through an experiment. My research combines new factors to the current literature on attack messages (content, emotional appeals, civility, etc.) and on voters (party ID, efficacy, etc.) to test whether or not negative campaigning works in Indonesian democracy.

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