Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

Zachary J. Stiegler, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mark J. Piwinsky, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mary Beth Leidman, Ed.D.


This study examines the effect of media on voting practices for the 2012 presidential election through analysis of individual activities within traditional media and social media platforms. Data were gathered using the published New Jersey Board of Elections data for registered voters, including whether they voted in the 2012 presidential election, and survey responses from a sample of registered voters within one county in a Northeastern State. Previous research predicted social media would replace traditional media as the venue for political information and participation activities. This study did not support those predictions. The study's theoretical implications were contrary to previous findings that the internet would mobilize citizens to new forms and patterns of political participation. Instead, the current frequency patterns and choice of media by the participants are better explained by Reinforcement Theory and the Uses and Gratification Theory as participants in the study engaged with traditional media and mimicked their traditional media patterns in social media sites. Additionally, this research used predictive modeling and logistic regression analysis. The results indicate that there is little difference between the various media models and their ability to predict voting.