Study: Use of Influencers to Deliver Political Messages Can Be Effective if Controversial Personalities are Avoided
A new study has found that organizations using influencers to deliver political messages can be effective, but organizations must be careful of controversial personalities.
The findings by Spiro Kiousis, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications executive associate dean, Phillip Arceneaux, Ph.D. 2019, Osama Albishri, Ph.D. 2021, doctoral students Ekaterina Romanova and Hadeel Alhaddadeh and University of Louisiana at Lafayette Adjunct Professor Brianne Hendricks was featured in “Election Mudslinging, from the Bayou to the Swamp: Assessing Agenda-Building in the 2019 Louisiana Gubernatorial Runoff Election” published in the Public Relations Journal, Vol. 15, Issue 2, September 2022.
The study used a computational content analysis to understand the roles that former President Donald Trump, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and Trump-supported Republican candidate Eddie Rispone played in influencing press and public agendas during the 2019 Louisiana gubernatorial runoff election.
According to the researchers, “This research investigates if political campaigns influenced press and public agendas, but also how influencer associations impacted the agenda-building process. Addressing Louisiana’s 2019 gubernatorial runoff election, this study assesses how an association with President Trump impacted a Republican campaign’s ability to transfer object salience, sentiment, and networks to press and public agendas.”
They add, “Findings suggest varying support for first (salience), second (tone), and third (network) level agenda-building by the Edwards and Rispone campaigns. Further, Rispone campaign messages stressing President Trump were less effective at the first and second agenda-building levels than were messages that did not mention the president. Such insights offer theoretical contributions to agenda-building scholarship and practical applications for the political public relations practitioner.”