Mass Media and Electoral Preferences During the 2016 US Presidential Race
This paper uses analyses of commercial polls alongside content-analytic measures of sentiment in the content of nine newspapers to explore the relationship between voter preferences and the tone of news coverage in the 2016 presidential election campaign. Both media coverage and voter preferences reflected the effects of certain campaign events—the conventions and the initial Comey intrusion—and there also is evidence of a relationship between the two. Indeed, it appears that the media both led and followed public preferences throughout much of the campaign, though evidence of followership actually is more robust; and the final weeks of the campaign show little to no media effects at all. Results speak to the importance of considering media not just as a driver, but also a follower of public sentiment.
KeywordsElectoral preferences Campaign effects Mass media
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