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Publications | conference paper
Priming of Politicians and Issues in the 2009 electoral campaign in Belgium.
author(s) | Jonas Lefevere
conference | Conference of the French Political Studies Association (AFSP), 31 August 2011 - 2 September 2011, Strasbourg
publication year | 2011
keywords | Priming, media effects, vote choice, campaigns, Belgium
abstract | Studies of priming have established that information from the mass media affects the way voters decide on election day. Considerations regarding certain politicians or issues become more important for voters who are exposed to campaign communications, potentially altering the outcome of their decision-making (Althaus & Kim, 2006; Druckman, 2004). Most existing studies looked at politician (candidate) and issue considerations, both of which are featured extensively in most campaigns. In this study I improve upon the existing literature in two ways; first, I test whether the presence or absence of politician- or issue considerations at the start of the campaign influences the priming effect. Thus far, priming effects were taken to occur on a 'blank slate', and the pre-existing considerations got little to no attention. Second, I test whether certain features in the media coverage itself mediate the priming effect by increasing applicability and accessibility of the information. Results indicate that prior considerations matter, but not as one would expect. Absence of either issue- or politician considerations increase the odds of priming, and vice versa. Regarding the mass media coverage itself, the link with elections and politics in the coverage (applicability) matters, as does the tone of the coverage (accessibility).
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