How the Media Influences Voter Behavior during Elections
Additionally, the media has played a very crucial role in the performance of modern democracies. The citizens of various nations depend on agents of information such as the media to learn about the content and magnitudes of the actions of the leaders they have elected. During an election period, citizens obtain the knowledge of a government and politics mainly through the television, radio, and newspapers. Such media outlets can have an impact on the voting behavior through the angle of a particular report and by merely selecting the stories that should be covered. An earlier generation of academics have been skeptical about the power of the media but more evidence gathered from studies in political science in the last few years has confirmed that the media has a strong influence on the beliefs and opinions of the masses (Ladd 2005).
This involved the creation of decisive presentations by the media which comprised of image enhancement, spin doctoring and refutations of the electorate’s fears about a win by the Labour Party (Alotaibi 2013). The Party was able to manage its campaign through the media in a confident manner hence conveying an assuring message to voters that there would be no going back to the traditional grounds of politics. Through the media, the party assured voters that under the new party, issues like spending by the public sector, contributions to the National Insurance and business relations would not be impacted in any way (Alotaibi 2013). The media also gives the undecided and existing voter a chance to seek for information and form opinions about the electoral candidates.
Also, conversations between the voters and the candidates is an enabler for the voters that are still undecided (Biswas, Ingle, and Roy 2014). Reporters have realized that the public usually has limited experience about the government and the world. These reporters have also stated that the media uses stories to put ideas into the minds of the citizens. Such ideas may become a part of their frame of reference and may impact any decisions made by them. Based on the hypodermic theory, an idea is shot into the mind of the receiver, and it becomes readily acceptable (Dobrzynska, Blais, and Nadeau 2003). Also, based on the cultivation theory, the media may form an individual’s perception of the world by displaying a perceived reality.
The media gives the citizens direct access to the candidates to make them believe they have an intimate connection with them (Alotaibi 2013). Messages conveyed through the media often go through a complex filtering process because citizens who may be interested will most likely be impacted by their background information, social networks, and psychological condition. As a consequence, the message may be misperceived to make it align with a person’s thinking (Alotaibi 2013). Other elements such as a person's mechanisms of social processes, selective perception may filter news reception as well as a test of reality about direct experience. The media may present political parties either in a positive or a negative manner. This shows that the media directly or indirectly determines which party or candidate should be given coverage and influence the voting decisions of the members of the public.
The media also offers an information environment that results in a shift in the opinion of voters. Rather than assuming that people have been presented with and possibly influenced by a particular content on the media, some studies assume that the media influence the overall information environment within a society that influences voting behaviors across the country (Hopmann et al. Such effects which emerge from the direct exposure to specific media content may also be supplemented by details which citizens obtain only indirectly, majorly through interpersonal communication (Hopmann et al. For instance, Friends, family or colleagues might be discussions or conversations and refer to things they read on social media or the internet as well as the things they saw on TV in the following days.
The prominence of party representatives in the media is among the presumed reasons of leader effects. But there is little available knowledge of the association between the attention given to party representatives in the media and their evaluations influence on the voting decision of the masses. Studies have hypothesized that personalized coverage by the media shapes the voting decision of an individual. Recent research has revealed that the media can cultivate the reality of people by presenting to them information that forms their perceptions of the world. Thus, the media can frame the information it presents. Media Effects on Voting Behavior. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 9(20). Biswas, A. , Ingle, N. and Roy, M. , De Vreese, C. and Albæk, E. Effects of election news coverage: How visibility and tone influence party choice.
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