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Political communication and opinion formation in Germany: a comparative study of local and national issues


Metag, Julia (2016). Political communication and opinion formation in Germany: a comparative study of local and national issues. European Journal of Communication:185-203.

Abstract

Political communication is crucial for opinion formation about any kind of political issue. According to arguments in the literature on the local public sphere and in political science, processes of communication and opinion formation differ at the local and national levels. However, opinion formation about national and local issues has yet to be compared systematically. This study analyses differences in the communication processes at the local and national levels in Germany based on a survey (n = 1014). The results demonstrate that opinions about local and national issues are predisposed, and hardly any media effects occur. Respondents’ opinions about local issues are formed more systematically, and interpersonal discussions can be influential while opinions about national issues are based less on personal relevance. In sum, opinion formation processes differ at local and national levels but not always in the way it is often assumed in the existing literature.

Abstract

Political communication is crucial for opinion formation about any kind of political issue. According to arguments in the literature on the local public sphere and in political science, processes of communication and opinion formation differ at the local and national levels. However, opinion formation about national and local issues has yet to be compared systematically. This study analyses differences in the communication processes at the local and national levels in Germany based on a survey (n = 1014). The results demonstrate that opinions about local and national issues are predisposed, and hardly any media effects occur. Respondents’ opinions about local issues are formed more systematically, and interpersonal discussions can be influential while opinions about national issues are based less on personal relevance. In sum, opinion formation processes differ at local and national levels but not always in the way it is often assumed in the existing literature.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:13 Feb 2017 15:33
Last Modified:13 Feb 2017 15:33
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0267-3231
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323116629876

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