Australia

Digital's vote sway bigger in Aust: expert

A US political communications experts believes digital election campaigning could be having a bigger impact on Australian voters than on voters in America.

Digital political campaigns could impact Australian voters more than US voters, a visiting expert in political communications believes.

George Washington University associate professor David Karpf said American elections are now multi-billion dollar, multi-year affairs.

Associate professor from the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University David Karpf said American elections are now multi-billion dollar, multi-year affairs.

"We are already preparing for the next election in November 2020," he told an audience in Canberra's Parliament House on Friday.

Mr Karpf, from the university's media and public affairs school, said the digital impact on US voters is drowned out by a "massive flood" of other campaign communications and its value is pretty small.

Voting in the US is voluntary and a two-party system, and the only thing that matters is the turnout.

In comparison, voting is compulsory in Australia, campaigns are shorter and less money is spent.

"That means that any digital campaign effort is going to have a larger impact," he said.

In a multi-party system with compulsory voting, the focus is on convincing people to switch from one party to another relatively similar party.

"So you can see a pretty powerful persuasion effect ... here because less money is spent and there is less overall communications," he said.

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