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Pressed into Party Support? Media Influence on Partisan Attitudes during the 2005 UK General Election Campaign


This study reassesses the ability of the mass media to influence voter opinions directly. Combining data on media content with individuals’ assessments of British political parties during the 2005 general election campaign allows a test of newspapers’ persuasive influence in a way previously considered a ‘virtual impossibility’. Utilizing repeated measures from the 2005 BES campaign panel, multilevel regression analysis reveals significant impact of partisan slant not just on the evaluation of the party mentioned but also on evaluations of its competitor(s). The strongest evidence of direct media persuasion is provided by the finding that variation in slant over the campaign drives how undecided voters evaluate the incumbent government party, even when controlling for a newspaper's average partisan slant.

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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