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Image that Matters: News Media Consumption and Party Leader Effects on Voting Behavior


Garzia, Diego; da Silva Ferreira, Frederico; De Angelis, Andrea (2020). Image that Matters: News Media Consumption and Party Leader Effects on Voting Behavior. International Journal of Press/Politics, 25(2):238-259.

Abstract

Television is customarily put forward as a driver of the “personalization of politics.” The characteristics of this visual medium arguably accentuate personality at the expense of substantive programmatic goals, downplaying partisan attachments and ideology as determinants of the vote in favor of candidate and party leader assessments. While there is evidence of this trend for presidential democracies, notably the United States, this linkage is yet to be fully explored for parliamentary democracies undergoing a process of personalization. This study addresses this gap through an analysis of pooled national election study data from thirteen Western European parliamentary democracies collected between 1982 and 2016. Our results show that leader effects are significantly stronger among individuals with a television-dominant media diet. The findings provide support to the yet underdeveloped theoretical relationship between media change and the personalization of politics, while also speaking to the broader question involving the importance of media for contemporary democratic elections.

Abstract

Television is customarily put forward as a driver of the “personalization of politics.” The characteristics of this visual medium arguably accentuate personality at the expense of substantive programmatic goals, downplaying partisan attachments and ideology as determinants of the vote in favor of candidate and party leader assessments. While there is evidence of this trend for presidential democracies, notably the United States, this linkage is yet to be fully explored for parliamentary democracies undergoing a process of personalization. This study addresses this gap through an analysis of pooled national election study data from thirteen Western European parliamentary democracies collected between 1982 and 2016. Our results show that leader effects are significantly stronger among individuals with a television-dominant media diet. The findings provide support to the yet underdeveloped theoretical relationship between media change and the personalization of politics, while also speaking to the broader question involving the importance of media for contemporary democratic elections.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:personalization of politics, voting behavior, newspapers, television
Language:English
Date:April 2020
Deposited On:19 Feb 2024 16:17
Last Modified:30 Apr 2024 01:51
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1940-1612
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1940161219894979