In every country of the world that upholds governance based on the mantle of democracy, elections are a very important aspect and part of the livelihood of the citizens as well as leaders of such states. No country in the world can operate effectively without a political set up. Though there are other kinds of political setups and policies, the policy of democracy is the most popular among nations in the world today. We need people who will guide us and make policies for us as a nation so that fruitful development can be achieved (Doyle, 1986). And we should be allowed to have a chance to make sure that these people we have in our legislative houses are people we have elected by means of a free and fair election void of corruption and other vices. Sometimes, however, you find that the opinions of the citizens prior to the conduct of the actual election have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the elections.
The approach that we employ towards finding the candidate who befits a particular political position is also a matter of uttermost importance. Campaigning is the only way that a particular person will get a chance to be elected as a leader in any nation (Krasner, 1998). And, as such, the importance of campaigns has led to the necessity of surveys to establish how the voters view the whole process and, in addition, to identify the campaign platforms that are more effective than the others. This paper will serve to analyze the views of different people who were interviewed and then establish the importance of the campaigning media according to the results.
The survey that has been conducted and the results recorded in the separate Excel documents are aimed at trying to investigate the way voters behave when the election time comes as well as the sources where they get details on the election. The survey aims at identifying the different roles that each source of information regarding elections and campaigns plays in enlightening the public. It will filter the sources according to the criteria of the source’s popularity, accuracy as well as credibility. To do this, a direct approach method was applied where the researcher went to the field, identified respective respondents and proceeded to interview them. The responses were recorded and analyzed.
The Findings from the Survey
From the results recorded in the constant contact survey forms, a number of findings have been made. These findings are analyzed in the ensuing discourse.
The sample of study comprised 17 interviewees who responded to the questions asked of them. These respondents were randomly selected for this study. The questions in the survey were put in both open ended and closed formats; in addition, no filters were used in the process.
The survey found out the following facts.
Among the interviewed respondents, over 70% (12 people) were already registered as voters. All those registered were found to have voted in a presidential election, although 64% (11 people) were the ones who voted in the preceding presidential election, while 30% (5 people) of them had not. 59% of the total sample (10 people) are determined to vote in the forthcoming elections. 30% (6 people) are sure that they will not vote; the rest of interviewees, 11% (2 people), are still undecided. They are not sure whether they will vote or not.
The ranking of the elections on the criterion of importance was not very strong with over 47% (8 people) of the respondents; they stated that they found the event somehow important but not overly significant. 35% (6 people) think that the election is a very important process. 11.7% (2 people) put the importance of the election in the extremely important bracket. Only one person, comprising 5% of the sample, did not think that the elections were of great importance.
Frequency of Campaign Updates Follow-up
To reach to the targeted voters, the candidates seeking positions of leadership must take it upon themselves to issue constant updates in regard to what and when they intend to do for the citizens. In matters concerning campaign updates, it has been established from the survey that 29% (5 people) are the majority of people who follow campaign updates on a weekly basis. 24% (4 people) of the respondents follow the trails once a day. 17.6% (3 people) follow the updates a couple times a day while only 1 person, comprising 5.8% of the population, follows the trail multiple times in a single day. 17.6% (3 people) hardly follow these updates, and 1 person, comprising 5.8% of the sample population, avoids these updates altogether.
Information Source by Popularity
According to the sample, it was revealed that the largest number of people got campaign updates from cable TV (64.7% - 11 people). Those that get their updates from network TVs and daily newspapers match at 47% of the sample population (8 people). Others receive the updates from publications and magazines and these comprise 35.2% and 29.4% respectively. The least popular source of information are online sources which comprises 11.6% (2 people) of the interviewees. However, the social media are slowly proving to be a formidable source with more and more people opting to air their political views via these social sites.
Credibility of the Information Source
The voters need to receive information from a source that they can trust and rely on. From the responses of the questions in the survey, cable TV and daily newspaper have been identified as the most credible sources of information on campaign updates. The others, like articles and magazines, follow closely. Blogs and social media platforms are considered to be the least credible sources. This is because the Internet is anonymous and vulnerable to all kinds of scams and frauds; people may decide to post malicious or even provoking information targeting a specific audience.
According to the sample, most respondents, 41.1% (7 people), use multiple sources of information. The most popular sources as identified from the survey are cable TV, satellite TV, the daily newspapers and magazines. Others follow objective reporting sources (41.1%). Others watch the information that is slanted towards their own beliefs 11.7%.
Advent of social media
It is inarguably correct to state that, in this era, the Internet has conquered the world. The Internet resource has become increasingly important in gathering information in the today’s world. Since 2005, social networks have seen a massive eruption. More and more people join these social media platforms each day. Facebook, in particular, is estimated to be having close to one billion users. This is one of the best ways where people from all walks and realms of life connect and share with each other.
Role of Social Media in the Voting Process
The popularity of the social media, especially with the youth and the middle aged people all over the world, has made it very easy to relay news and network. Politicians work with numbers; the more people they can reach out to, the better for increasing the chances of their re-election. Social media could be a very powerful tool here in that it allows the politicians to reach out to a great number of people at once and with little hustle. Politicians could come up with projects and groups targeting the youth and connecting with them virtually from anywhere in the globe.
The media allows a platform where the voters could assess their candidates without even having the necessity to meet them in person. They could ask the politicians questions, debate and even conduct one on one interviews at the comfort of their homes. In addition, voters get a chance to have a discussion amongst themselves concerning the issues affecting them as a whole. They get a chance to collectively assess and weigh the candidates that have fronted themselves in pursuit of their votes and settle for the most suitable one.
The candidates are able to conduct manifesto launches and have an interactive session with their potential voters. They answer the questions raised by the voters, conduct their campaigns and relate with the people that they wish to serve. Moreover, they can employ the social media to sensitize the public on the policies that are available for implementation and to inform them on the strategies they have in line; thus, they would make sure that these policies and the pledges they make to the public would be honored.
The candidates may make their niche and drive their point home via the creation of blogs which will keep people updated on their campaign trails. They can create interactive plaques and allow people to become their fans. The social media can also be used effectively to conduct opinion polls about the candidates participating in a race. Different people from various areas can be able to state their opinions on the candidates they think are more suitable for the positions of leadership.
According to the findings discussed above, it can be concluded that many people take the issue of voting rather seriously. They feel that it is their duty to elect a leader of their choice. Thus, it implies that they have to look for the best sources of information on the campaigns that their favorite candidates are conducting. From the survey results, cable TV has emerged as the most favorite information source, mainly because it is found in practically every homestead in the country. The Internet, though having been discredited as the least trustworthy platform or source of information on the campaigns and elections, has proven to be one of the most potent sources if properly utilized. This is due to the power of social media. To be able to elect a capable leader, one would need to be equipped with full information concerning the kind of leader they want to elect to parliament. This is performed through thoroughly investigating the diverse kinds of sources of information. The challenge of identifying which source is credible and which one is not totally lies upon the voters themselves.