Mathieu Lavigne

McGill University

Department of Political Science
Program: PhD
Supervisor: Éric Bélanger
Start: 2018

Title: Micro-ciblage et polarisation partisane lors de l'élection canadienne de 2015

My master's thesis explores the relationship between the use of microtargeting by political parties and partisan attachment. Many scholars make the assumption that exposure to communications that are congruent with voters’ ideology or interests, a key component of microtargeting, can increase partisan polarization. We provide a first empirical test for this argument focusing on the 2015 Canadian election. A new index based on voters’ predicted participation and level of support for parties that have contacted them is used as a proxy for microtargeting. According to the evidence reported, microtargeting doesn’t impact the perception of differences between parties. However, it increases the strength of voters’ party identification and significantly reduces the probability that they change their vote choice during the campaign. Microtargeting can thus lead to the creation of stronger bonds between citizens and parties and make voters less likely to defect from their party.

Previous Awards
FRQSC Doctoral Research Scholarship (2018-2021) SSHRC Master’s Scholarship (2017-2018) Jocelyne Dion Award (highest-ranking student of the B.Sc. in Political Science)