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Political Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 567–585 | Cite as

The Role of Media Distrust in Partisan Voting

  • Jonathan McDonald LaddEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

As an institution, the American news media have become highly unpopular in recent decades. Yet, we do not thoroughly understand the consequences of this unpopularity for mass political behavior. While several existing studies find that media trust moderates media effects, they do not examine the consequences of this for voting. This paper explores those consequences by analyzing voting behavior in the 2004 presidential election. It finds, consistent with most theories of persuasion and with studies of media effects in other contexts, that media distrust leads voters to discount campaign news and increasingly rely on their partisan predispositions as cues. This suggests that increasing aggregate levels of media distrust are an important source of greater partisan voting.

Keywords

News media Trust Voting Party identification Media skepticism 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Doug Arnold, Larry Bartels, Martin Gilens, Erika King, Gabriel Lenz, Skip Lupia, Tali Mendelberg and seminar participants at the University of Delaware, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Princeton University and Temple University for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. All remaining errors are my own.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Government and Georgetown Public Policy InstituteGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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