Media content and interpersonal discussion both affect mass political behavior. However, assessment of the relationship between media and discussion is complicated by the difficulty in establishng the causal order of that relationship. This article addresses the question of causality by considering whether access to newspaper coverage affects the quantity of political discussion, and whether it influences discussant effects on the vote choice. A quasi-experimental approach is introduced to pursue these questions. Results indicate that media exposure fuels political discussion, but that discussant effects on electoral choice are not influenced by the specific content of interpersonal discussion. Further, media exposure may discourage cue-based decision making and thus limit discussant effects on vote choice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science