Title: Mobile media activity breadth and political engagement: an online resource perspective

Authors: Jason A. Martin

Addresses: College of Communication, DePaul University, 1 E. Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604, USA

Abstract: This study investigates online resource theory by focusing on mobile communication's role in political engagement. The effects of mobile media use on online political engagement are explored through a random-sample survey of how citizens used mobile devices during the 2012 US presidential election. Controls for demographics, political interest, and ideological strength provide context for understanding individual-level differences. Younger, better educated respondents who were more likely to be politically interested and self-described as possessing stronger political ideologies were more likely to engage with the election campaign through their mobile phones. Users' mobile media activity breadth produced the strongest positive association with online political engagement. Also, the interactive association of political interest and mobile media activity breadth reinforced political interest's influence on engagement. Findings support and extend literature on the positive but complicated role of mobile and digital technology in the deployment of online resources for political engagement.

Keywords: mobile communications; mobile media activity; activity breadth; online political engagement; political participation; online participation; elections; survey; online resource theory; e-participation; electronic participation; 2012 US presidential election; demographics; political interest; ideological strength; mobile phones; cell phones; USA; United States.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2016.073354

International Journal of Mobile Communications, 2016 Vol.14 No.1, pp.26 - 42

Accepted: 13 Apr 2015
Published online: 30 Nov 2015 *

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