What a Difference a Critical Election Makes: Social Networks and Political Discussion in Italy Between 2008 and 2013

Donatella Campus, Luigi Ceccarini, Cristian Vaccari

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This article offers an analysis of the factors associated with frequency of political discussion among representative samples of Italian voters during the general election campaigns of 2008 and 2013. This diachronic comparison allows us to assess how political discussion was shaped in two campaigns characterized by widely different opinion climates, with the 2013 one marked by widespread political disaffection. Our findings show that political discussion notably increased in 2013 and the factors driving political conversations changed substantially. Whereas in 2008 those who voted out of protest and were part of politically homogeneous groups were less likely to talk about politics than the rest of the sample, in 2013 the interaction between protest voting and network homogeneity strongly boosted political discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-601
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number4
Early online date2 Dec 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2015


  • social networks
  • political discussion
  • network homogeneity
  • election campaigns

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