Direct Contact, Media Use, and Voting Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Wong, Weiyang Joann
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • For decades mass communication scholars have examined the effects of mass media on voting behavior, whereas many political scientists have explored how direct contact contributes to voter turnout. Conflicting results are found in these two streams of research. Voting behavior might result from both interpersonal and mass communication, but traditional voting research typically overlooks either aspect and thus could not fully explore the impacts upon voting behavior. This study intends to bring together interpersonal and mass communication in the voting decision-making process by focusing on both direct contact and mass media effects on voter turnout. Using nationally representative panel survey data, this study simultaneously analyzes four media-use variables (television news, newspaper reading, television commercials and radio advertisements) and four direct contact variables (financial donation requests, direct mail, electronic mail and phone calls). The results indicate that both media use and direct contact have a direct and positive impact on voter turnout. Furthermore, media use also has an indirect effect on voter turnout through direct contact. A reverse effect is found between media use and voting. Media use appears to be both a consequence of voting intention and a predictor of voting behavior. The finding that people who intend to vote will consume media more than people who don't plan to vote confirms the theory of uses and gratifications.
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  • In Copyright
  • Zhao, Xinshu
  • Open access

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