The Charm of Salient Issues? Parties’ Strategic Behavior in Press Releases
During election campaigns political actors strategically choose issues to focus on. Besides highlighting issues over which a party exerts issue ownership, they may also engage with issues highly salient in the media. The present chapter analyses under which conditions parties prefer focusing on the issues they own, and in which cases they rather pay attention to issues on the media agenda. A content analysis of press releases and newspaper coverage in Switzerland, Germany, France and Great Britain during national election campaigns shows that issue ownership matters across countries and explains quite well the parties’ issue selection strategies. However, exogenous events like crisis, scandals or catastrophes motivate to follow up on news coverage, even at the cost of owned issues.
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