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Is it all talk: do politicians that promote environmental messages on social media actually vote-in environmental policy?

Greenwell, M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5406-6222 and Johnson, T. F. (2022) Is it all talk: do politicians that promote environmental messages on social media actually vote-in environmental policy? Energy, Ecology and Environment. ISSN 2363-8338

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s40974-022-00259-0

Abstract/Summary

Government policies are key to combating climate change and biodiversity loss. Here, we examine whether environmental messages on Twitter by UK politicians can be used to predict the probability of politicians voting-in pro-environmental policy. Using historical Twitter data and voting records, we determine that the number of tweets by UK politicians regarding environmental subjects has increased over the last decade, although this is not consistent across all parties. The probability of voting environmentally has not increased, instead, voting trends are highly heterogeneous over time, varying by political party. This suggests that there is little association between politicians that promote environmental messages on social media and the odds of them voting-in environmental policy. However, in some cases, politicians do deviate from political party lines, and so we assessed whether politicians that posted more environmental messages were more likely to break party lines and vote-in environmental measures. We found evidence that, after accounting for party, politicians who tweet more frequently about environmental subjects are more likely to vote against party lines in favour of environmental measures. This work suggests that politicians’ that post more environmental messages are more likely to support pro-environmental policy, but this signal is low relative to the predominant driver - political party association.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:107583
Publisher:Springer

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