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One unique feature of the 2012 Mexican presidential election process was the emergence of a politicized student movement. Known as #YoSoy132, it combined ideologically diverse students from private and public universities who united against biased media coverage of the election campaigns. The movement initially took a stance against the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and protested against its presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, but it had no clear leanings toward any of the other candidates. Nevertheless, the student movement gradually became more identified as supportive of the leftist candidate , Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The student movement ran a campaign of its own, relying heavily on Internet and social media, but also holding public meetings and organizing street protests that were attended mainly by young people. It organized a live, Internet-based presidential debate, attended by all presidential candidates except Peña Nieto (who declined to participate). Our purpose in this chapter is to analyze the effects of #YoSoy132 in the 2012 presidential election. We rely on the Mexico 2012 Panel Study to analyze whether voters changed their political views over the course of the presidential campaign. As past panel studies in Mexico show, changes can be linked to campaign events (Flores-Macías 2009; Lawson 1999, 2004), as well as to campaign strategies and messages (Moreno 2004, 2009a). We focus on the dynamic effects that can be observed in the two-wave panel data, particularly on changes in candidate images and vote choices. The student movement in 2012 can be analyzed from various perspectives, but our objective is not to document the movement’s characteristics or to understand its motives and causes, but to assess its possible effects on voters. The student movement relied heavily on the Internet and social media, and it aimed 10 Effects of #YoSoy132 and Social Media in Mexico’s 2012 Presidential Campaigns ALEJANDRO DÍAZ-DOMÍNGUEZ AND ALEJANDRO MORENO 228 Mexico’s Evolving Democracy at the mobilization of young voters. For these reasons we test the role of new information technologies in the campaigns, and we focus on voters under age 30 to assess whether they “behaved” differently than older voters. Because the role of the Internet and social media in politics and elections is of increasing theoretical and comparative interest (Coleman and Blumler 2009; Norris 2000; Semetko 2007), we include analysis of media use, considering both traditional (television, radio, print) and new media (Internet and social media). In this portion of the chapter, we aim to contribute to an emerging literature on the Internet and social media in campaigns and elections in Latin America (Iasulaitis 2013; Moreno and Mendizábal 2013; Telles, Santos Mundim, and Lopes 2013) as well as their impact on political participation in other regions of the world (Howard 2010; Vergeer, Hermans, Sams 2013). To model changes in attitudes toward #YoSoy132, we employ the technique used to analyze student protests in France in May 1968, which also relied on panel data. First we offer a brief context of the 2012 presidential campaigns and the emergence of the student movement. We move on to an analysis of how opinions about #YoSoy132 influenced vote choices and candidate images. We then report how the #YoSoy132 feeling thermometer stands out as one of the main predictor of changes in candidate image during the campaigns. We also explain feelings toward the student movement and the role that social media plays; we comment on the effects of both factors in explaining perceptions of biased media coverage during the campaigns, one of the movement’s central reasons for protest. Finally, we offer a brief analysis of media use in the 2012 election that can be put in comparative perspective. Our main argument is that the emergence of #YoSoy132 helped crystallize two political camps that are ideologically distinct and supportive of the PRI and the left—a conflict dimension that shares some features of the old PRI/anti-PRI in Mexico but is also distinctive. We conclude that the student movement exerted significant campaign effects that form an important part of the story behind the 2012 campaign. The Emergence of #YoSoy132 On May 11, 2012, a group of students protested during the PRI presidential candidate’s visit to Ibero-American University, a private college in western Mexico City known for many things but not for political activism. Banners scattered among the crowd ranged from relatively soft messages of rejection— “Get out, get out” and “Peña Nieto: Ibero does not like you”—to tougher messages and...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781421415550
Related ISBN
9781421415543
MARC Record
OCLC
899212335
Pages
304
Launched on MUSE
2015-02-03
Language
English
Open Access
No
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