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Anne WaltherCapstone ProposalDr. PrestienDecember 17, 2017 Candidate Donald Trump’s Use of Social Media in the 2016United States Presidential Election and how it impacted voters ages 18-29 inthe key swing state of Pennsylvania A Research Proposal by Anne WaltherIntroductionThis capstone will examineRepublican candidate Donald Trump’s use of social media in the 2016 UnitedStates presidential election. The influence of social media in nationalelections is stronger than it has ever been. In a presidential election wherethe victor won 18 states by fewer than 250,000 votes, social media influence ismore important to examine than ever. According to an article Pew ResearchCenter, in February 2016 approximately one third of 18- to 29-year-olds namedsocial media as the most helpful type of source for learning about the 2016presidential election. This is significant because the Census Bureau publishedthat in 2016, young votersages 18 to 29 were the only age group to report increased voter turnout with a1.1% increase compared to 2012 statistics, and according to NPR, millennialsmade up 31% of the potential electorate. According to Pew Research Center,Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton received a lower percentage of the votesthan candidate Barack Obama received in 2008 or 2012.

This alone shows us thatsocial media played a direct role in helping elect candidate Donald Trump asPresident of the United States. Thisresearch will examine how candidate Donald Trump and his social media team usedsocial media throughout the campaign as a whole. Additionally, this case studywill cover 15 specific notable instances of candidate Donald Trump’s tweetsthroughout the campaign and how it impacted his voter pool both directly and indirectlyby stimulating more media coverage via a feedback loop.            Additionally, I willbe conducting a survey for 100 people who voted in the 2016 presidentialelection that are in between the ages of 18-29. The survey will includequestions gauging how important social media was in determining who each personvoted for. I’ll look for trends along party lines and issues important tovoters. PreliminaryLiterature ReviewThe literature used inthis research will primarily be tweets from Twitter will be examining DonaldTrump’s personal Twitter account @realDonaldTrump to find some of his mostnotable tweets during the campaign period.

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This will include a range fromoffensive tweets that attack Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton along withthen current President of the United States Barack Obama to defensive tweetsapologizing for a video that was released close to election day.  I’ll examine some of the comments on thesetweets to understand how these tweets made his supporters and other potentialvoters feel.  Tweets that generatemedia buzz start what is commonly referred to as a feedback loop. The tweetgains notoriety from Twitter itself, but the tweet’s impact is multiplied whenthese online or cable news outlets have the opportunity to share both thecontent itself and their interpretation of said content with more potentialvoters. I will then delve into the media coverage of these notable tweets froma variety of news sources such as the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, NewYork Times, the Business Times, CNN, Fox News and more.

To understand voterdemographics and to what degree social media and feedback loop could impact the presidential election, I will belooking at statistics from PEW Research Center and ResearchQuestion            Didcandidate Donald Trump’s social media use, specifically his tweets, help orharm him in the 2016 United States presidential election in the key swing stateof Pennsylvania with voters between the ages of 18-29?  Methodology            Methodology for this research can bebroken down into two phases. The first phase will include deciding 15 of DonaldTrump’s most popular tweets during the campaign period and then examining mediacoverage for these tweets.            The secondphase will include drafting a survey to measure what issues are most importantto voters and also how these voters reacted to the tweets. Before the survey isdistributed, I would have the participants sign an informed consent document toensure confidentiality and minimize liability.The survey will be broken up intotwo parts.

To start the survey, the participants will fill out some basicdemographic information. The first part will be to measure where voters standon each issue by having a statement about the issue and a Likert scale tomeasure how much they agree with the statement. Then they will answer using ascale how important each issue is to them. The first part will finish with aquestion of how much did candidate social media and media coverage ofcandidates’ social media played a role in who they decided to vote for. The second part of the survey will have to dowith candidate Trump’s social media use, with pictures of his popular tweetsduring the campaign season and a scale of 1-9 under each tweet for how muchthey approve or disapprove of each Tweet.            Ideally,the survey would be distributed to over 100 Pennsylvania voters age 18-29 andhave at least 25 responses from left-learning females, 25 responses fromright-leaning females, 25 responses from left-leaning males, and 25 responsesfrom right-leaning females. The informed consent and part 1 of the survey willbe as follows (part 2 of the survey has not been drafted yet).InformedConsentThis research studyis about social media impact in the 2016 United States Presidential Election.

This consent form requests you allow the researcher, Anne Walther, to record,view, and analyze your results and comments to further enhance her understandingof the research topic. This consent form also establishes permission to use anyobservations associated with your survey results as data in the study.Published results will keep all names confidential, and any quotes will beattributed to a participant number rather than a name. Participation in thisstudy is voluntary. Deciding not to participate will not entail any negativeconsequences. By submitting thisform you are indicating that you have read the above statements about the studyand that you agree to the terms as described above. Printedname___________________________________________________Signed name___________________________________________________Date ________________________________Over the age of 18 circle                   yes          noVotedin the 2016 United States Presidential General Election as a PennsylvaniaResident circle       yes    no   Part 11. At thetime of the 2016 Presidential Election, what political party were youregistered with?             2.

At thetime of the 2016 Presidential Election, what was your legally registered sex?  3. What is your birthdayMonth___________________Date_____________________Year____________________ 4. How old were you when you voted for the 2016 UnitedStates Presidential General Election?      5. On apolitical spectrum from left to right where the further left entails moreliberal ideas and the further right represents more conservative ideals, fillin the blank by circling the answer choice that most describes your politicalviews.

 I considermost of my ideals to be_____________________________.very left leaningslightly left leaning to very left leaning.moderate to slightly left leaning.moderate to slightly right leaning.slightly right leaning to very right leaning.very right leaning.

 6. Likert Scale PoliticalIssue QuestionsOn a scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree, pleasecircle the phrase indicating your sentiment towards each statement. On a scale fromnot important to of highest importance, please circle the phrase indicating howimportant the issue surrounding the previous statement is to you.


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