Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-wr4x4 Total loading time: 0.437 Render date: 2023-01-30T12:15:38.086Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Local News, Information, and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2020

DANIEL J. MOSKOWITZ*
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
*
Daniel J. Moskowitz, Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago, dmoskowitz@uchicago.edu.

Abstract

Has the decline in traditional sources of local news contributed to the nationalization of U.S. elections? I hypothesize that local news coverage mitigates nationalization by providing voters with information that allows them to assess down-ballot candidates separately from their national, partisan assessment. The geography of media markets places some voters in a neighboring state’s market and others in in-state markets. I demonstrate that residents of in-state markets have access to vastly more local television news coverage of their governor and U.S. senators, and this increased coverage translates into greater knowledge of these officeholders. Further, access to in-state television news substantially increases split-ticket voting in gubernatorial and senatorial races. Supplementary analyses provide strong evidence that the estimated effects are not the result of unobserved differences between residents of in-state and out-of-state media markets. These results imply that local news coverage attenuates the nationalization of elections even in the present polarized context.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

I am grateful to the editors and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback and guidance. I would also like to thank Steve Ansolabehere, Scott Ashworth, Pamela Ban, Riley Carney, Anthony Fowler, Chris Lucas, Eric Moskowitz, Rachel Moskowitz, Stephen Pettigrew, Tobi Resch, Jon Rogowski, Ben Schneer, and Jim Snyder for helpful comments and suggestions throughout the course of the project. In addition, I am grateful for invaluable feedback from seminar participants at the Harris School, Harvard, NYU, Rochester, and UCSD. Replication files are available at the American Political Science Review Dataverse: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/HDDPTB.

References

Abramowitz, Alan I., and Webster, Steven. 2016. “The Rise of Negative Partisanship and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections in the 21st Century.” Electoral Studies 41: 1222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Althaus, Scott L., and Trautman, Todd C.. 2008. “The Impact of Television Market Size on Voter Turnout in American Elections.” American Politics Research 36 (6): 824856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Angrist, Joshua, and Pischke, Jorn-Steffen. 2009. Mostly Harmless Econometrics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ansolabehere, Stephen, Snowberg, Erik C., and Snyder, Jr James M.. 2006. “Television and the Incumbency Advantage in U.S. Elections.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 31 (4): 469490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arceneaux, Kevin, and Johnson, Martin. 2013. Changing Minds or Changing Channels: Partisan News in an Age of Choice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, R. Douglas. 2004. Congress, the Press, and Political Accountability. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Barabas, Jason, and Jerit, Jennifer. 2009. “Estimating the Causal Effects of Media Coverage on Policy-Specific Knowledge.” American Journal of Political Science 53 (1): 7389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boemer, Marilyn Lawrence. 1987. “Correlating Lead-In Show Ratings with Local Television News Ratings.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 31 (1): 8994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boxell, Levi, Gentzkow, Matthew, and Shapiro, Jesse M.. 2017. “Greater Internet Use Is Not Associated with Faster Growth in Political Polarization among US Demographic Group.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (40): 1061210617.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bullock, John G. 2011. “Elite Influence on Public Opinion in an Informed Electorate.” The American Political Science Review 105 (3): 496515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Darr, Joshua P., Hitt, Matthew P., and Dunaway, Johanna L.. 2018. “Newspaper Closures Polarize Voting Behavior.” Journal of Communication 68 (11): 10071028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, Nicholas T., and Dunaway, Johanna L.. 2016. “Party Polarization, Media Choice, and Mass Partisan-Ideological Sorting.” Public Opinion Quarterly 80 (1): 272297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DellaVigna, Stefano, and Kaplan, Ethan. 2007. “The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 122 (3): 11871234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
Dunaway, Johanna. 2008. “Markets, Ownership, and the Quality of Campaign News Coverage.” Journal of Politics 70 (4): 11931202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dunaway, Johanna, and Lawrence, Regina G.. 2015. “What Predicts the Game Frame? Media Ownership, Electoral Context, and Campaign News.” Political Communication 32 (1): 4360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Federal Communications Commission. 2016. “Designated Market Areas: Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 109 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014.” DA 16-613. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-613A1.pdf.Google Scholar
Federal Communications Commission. 2017a. “Amendment of Section 73.3555(e) of the Commission’s Rules: National Television Multiple Ownership Rule.” FCC 17-169. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-169A1.pdf.Google Scholar
Federal Communications Commission. 2017b. “Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming.” DA 17-71. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-71A1_Rcd.pdf.Google Scholar
Federal Communications Commission. 2017c. “Elimination of Main Studio Rule.” FCC 17-137. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-137A1.pdf.Google Scholar
Federal Communications Commission. 2017d. “Order on Reconsideration and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.” FCC 17-156. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-156A1.pdf.Google Scholar
Federal Communications Commission. 2017e. “Statement of Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn.” FCC 17-59. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-59A3.pdf.Google Scholar
Flaxman, Seth, Goel, Sharad, and Rao, Justin M.. 2016. “Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online News Consumption.” Public Opinion Quarterly 80 (1): 298320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gentzkow, Matthew. 2006. “Television and Voter Turnout.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 121 (3): 931972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gentzkow, Matthew, and Shapiro, Jesse M.. 2011. “Ideological Segregation Online and Offline.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 126 (1): 17991839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gentzkow, Matthew, Shapiro, Jesse M., and Sinkinson, Michael. 2011. “The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics.” American Economic Review 101 (7): 29803018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gerber, Alan S., Karlan, Dean, and Bergan, Daniel. 2009. “Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 1 (2): 3552.Google Scholar
Government Accountability Office. 2015. “Broadcast Exclusivity Rules: Effects of Elimination Would Depend on Other Federal Actions and Industry Response.” GAO-15–441. https://www.gao.gov/assets/670/669629.pdf.Google Scholar
Green, Donald P., Zelizer, Adam, and Kirby, David. 2018. “Publicizing Scandal: Results from Five Field Experiments.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 13 (3): 237-261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guess, Andrew, Nyhan, Brendan, and Reifler, Jason. 2018. “All Media Trust Is Local? Findings from the 2018 Poynter Media Trust Survey.” http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/media-trust-report-2018.pdf.Google Scholar
Guess, Andrew M. 2015. “Measure for Measure: An Experimental Test of Online Political Media Exposure.” Political Analysis 23 (1): 5975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hayes, Danny, and Lawless, Jennifer L.. 2015. “As Local News Goes, So Goes Citizen Engagement: Media, Knowledge, and Participation in US House Elections.” The Journal of Politics 77 (2): 447462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hayes, Danny, and Lawless, Jennifer L.. 2018. “The Decline of Local News and Its Effects: New Evidence from Longitudinal Data.” The Journal of Politics 80 (1): 332336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Higgins, Eoin. 2017. “Why Won’t The FCC Let Orphan Counties Watch Their Local NFL Teams?” Deadspin. https://deadspin.com/why-wont-the-fcc-let-orphan-counties-watch-their-local-1821328307.Google Scholar
Hirano, Shigeo, and Snyder, Jr James M.. 2019. Primary Elections in the United States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hopkins, Daniel J. 2018. The Increasingly United States: How and Why American Political Behavior Nationalized. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hopkins, Daniel J., and Ladd, Jonathan M.. 2014. “The Consequences of Broader Media Choice: Evidence from the Expansion of Fox News.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 9 (1): 115135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iyengar, Shanto, and Hahn, Kyu S.. 2009. “Red Media, Blue Media: Evidence of Ideological Selectivity in Media Use.” Journal of Communication 59 (1): 1939.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jacobson, Gary C. 2015. “It’s Nothing Personal: The Decline of the Incumbency Advantage in US House Elections.” The Journal of Politics 77 (3): 861873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
King, Gary, Schneer, Benjamin, and White, Ariel. 2017. “How the News Media Activate Public Expression and Influence National Agendas.” Science 358 (6364): 776780.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Krugman, Herbert E., and Hartley, Eugene L.. 1970. “Passive Learning from Television.” Public Opinion Quarterly 34 (2): 184190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leetaru, Kalev. 2016. “New Research Tool for Visualizing Two Million Hours of Television News.” [Internet Archive Blog]. https://blog.archive.org/2016/12/20/new-research-tool-for-visualizing-two-million-hours-of-television-news/.Google Scholar
Lelkes, Yphtach, Sood, Guarav, and Iyengar, Shanto. 2017. “The Hostile Audience: The Effect of Access to Broadband Internet on Partisan Affect.” American Journal of Political Science 61 (1): 520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levendusky, Matthew. 2013a. How Partisan Media Polarize America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levendusky, Matthew. 2013b. “Partisan Media Exposure and Attitudes toward the Opposition.” Political Communication 30 (1): 565581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levendusky, Matthew. 2013c. “Why Do Partisan Media Polarize Viewers?American Journal of Political Science 57 (3): 611623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levendusky, Matthew S. 2011. “Rethinking the Role of Political Information.” Public Opinion Quarterly 75 (1): 4264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levy, Dena, and Squire, Peverill. 2000. “Television Markets and the Competitiveness of U.S. House Elections.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 25 (2): 313325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, Gregory J., and Yurukoglu, Ali. 2017. “Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization.” American Economic Review 107 (9): 25652599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, Gregory J., and McCrain, Josh. 2019. “Local News and National Politics.” American Political Science Review 113 (2): 372384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McCarty, Nolan, Poole, Keith T, and Rosenthal, Howard. 2009. “Does Gerrymandering Cause Polarization?American Journal of Political Science 53 (3): 666680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McDowell, Walter S., and Dick, Steven J.. 2003. “Has Lead-in Lost its Punch? An Analysis of Prime Time Inheritance Effects: Comparing 1992 with 2002.” The International Journal on Media Management 5 (4): 285293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Media Insight Project. 2018. “Americans and the News Media: What They Do—and Don’t—Understand about Each Other.” https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Americans-and-the-News-Media-2018.pdf.Google Scholar
Mondak, Jeffrey J. 1995. “Newspapers and Political Awareness.” American Journal of Political Science 39 (2): 513527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nielsen Company. 2017. “The Nielsen Local Watch Report: Television Trends in Our Cities.” http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2017/q1-2017-local-watch-report-tv-trends-in-our-cities.html.Google Scholar
Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, and Waldfogel, Joel. 2009. “Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout?American Economic Review 99 (1): 21202128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Padgett, Jeremy, Dunaway, Johanna L., and Darr, Joshua P.. 2019. “As Seen on TV? How Gatekeeping Makes the U.S. House Seem More Extreme.” Journal of Communication 69 (6): 696719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peterson, Erik. 2017. “The Role of the Information Environment in Partisan Voting.” Journal of Politics 79 (4): 11911204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pew Research Center. 2017. “Local TV News Fact Sheet.” http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/local-tv-news.Google Scholar
Prior, Markus. 2005. “News vs. Entertainment: How Increasing Media Choice Widens Gaps in Political Knowledge and Turnout.” American Journal of Political Science 49 (3): 577592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prior, Markus. 2006. “The Incumbent in the Living Room: The Rise of Television and the Incumbency Advantage in U.S. House Elections.” The Journal of Politics 68 (3): 657673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prior, Markus. 2007. Post-Broadcast Democracy: How Media Choice Increases Inequality in Political Involvement and Polarizes Elections. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Prior, Markus. 2009. “The Immensely Inflated News Audience: Assessing Bias in Self-Reported News Exposure.” Public Opinion Quarterly 73 (1): 130143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prior, Markus. 2013. “Media and Political Polarization.” Annual Review of Political Science 16: 101127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
Schaffner, Brian F. 2006. “Local News Coverage and the Incumbency Advantage in the U.S. House.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 31 (4): 491511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Simon, Herbert A., and Stern, Frederick. 1955. “The Effect of Television upon Voting Behavior in Iowa in the 1952 Presidential Election.” The American Political Science Review 49 (2): 470477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jr, Snyder., James, M., and Strömberg, David. 2010. “Press Coverage and Political Accountability.” Journal of Political Economy 118 (2): 355408.Google Scholar
Song, B. K. 2016. “Media Markets and Politicians Involved in Scandals.” The Social Science Journal 53 (4): 389397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
StewartIII, Charles, and Reynolds, Mark. 1990. “Television Markets and U.S. Senate Elections.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 15 (4): 495523.Google Scholar
Strömberg, David. 2004. “Radio’s Impact on Public Spending.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 119 (1): 189221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stroud, Natalie Jomini. 2011. Niche News: The Politics of News Choice. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wagner, Michael W., and Gruszczynski, Mike. 2018. “Who Gets Covered? Ideological Extremity and News Coverage of Members of the U.S. Congress, 1993 to 2013.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 95 (3): 670690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Webster, James G. 2006. “Audience Flow Past and Present: Television Inheritance Effects Reconsidered.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 50 (2): 323337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: Link

Moskowitz Dataset

Link
Supplementary material: PDF

Moskowitz supplementary material

Moskowitz supplementary material
Download Moskowitz supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 1 MB
14
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Local News, Information, and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Local News, Information, and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Local News, Information, and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *