ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Linking survey data with media content analysis of TV news coverage to assess the impact of campaigns. The case of N.Sarkozy’s victory in the 2007 French presidential election

Jacques Gerstlé

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 6 - Law Building, Room 022
Date: 2012-07-10 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-12-30


Contrary to the minimal effects model, the combination of a content analysis with the first wave (pre-electoral) of the “French Electoral Panel” shows some effects of TV news coverage on subjective political sophistication, electoral participation and electoral choice.
* People for whom television is the primary source of political information have a higher probability than those who use another media to find that politics is complex. Moreover, the impact of televised news on subjective political sophistication depends on the TV channel.
* Televised news mobilizes citizens. Indeed, those who watch a lot of television news have a higher probability, ceteris paribus, to say they will turn out.
* Regarding electoral choice, three effects can be distinguished: a visibility effect, an association effect and a framing effect. 1) The more a message dominates, the more it has a persuasive impact. Watching TV news increases the probability to vote for Nicolas Sarkozy or Ségolène Royal 2) TV news encourages viewers to vote for the candidate most often associated with the problem they consider to be the most important in their vote 3) By framing Nicolas Sarkozy as a candidate breaking with the incumbent power, television has limited the impact on the vote of negative economic evaluations.