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Title:Media Use and Time of Decision in the 1980 Presidential Election
Author(s):Goldman, Steven Bennett
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Political Science, General
Mass Communications
Abstract:This study followed 209 registered voters through the 1980 presidential campaign period as they made their decision among Democratic incumbent Carter, Republican challenger Reagan, and Independent party candidate John Anderson. It follows the panel design of previous mass commmunication election studies; Lazarsfeld (1940), Berelson (1944), Mendelsohn and O'Keefe (1972), Chaffee and Choe (1976).
The effects of difficult decision-making and use of media in a complex race were seen as a weak Carter and a locally-popular third-party candidate apparently caused many to delay their choice.
Through three waves of interviews, respondents were categorized as precampaign (26% of respondents), campaign (24%), post-debate (33%) or last-minute (17%) deciders. The different television, newspaper use, other communicaton behaviors and demographics (including measures of political affiliations, candidate issue and image scales) for these groups were analyzed utilizing the uses-and-gratifications approach of an active, selective audience.
Results. The earliest deciders had the highest relative use of the various communications channels at the earliest measurement. However, their relative use varied as other decision groups increased or decreased their relative media attention. The group of voters who decide gradually, at some point during the campaign (but not at a particular event, such as a debate), showed an increase in attention to political information in the media around their decision time. The people who make their final decision around the time of a major event during the campaign (a debate, a disclosure, a position statement) demonstrated use of the media centered around the channel that best informed them about that event. Last-Minute deciders may be seen as a special case of the "event" deciders. For this group, the event is the imminent Election Day itself. They would turn to the most readily available or habitual medium, television.
Issue Date:1988
Description:172 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823136
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1988

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