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The national press and voting turnout: British general elections of 1992 and 1997

Brynin, M and Newton, K (2003) 'The national press and voting turnout: British general elections of 1992 and 1997.' Political Communication, 20 (1). 59 - 77. ISSN 1058-4609

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Britain is a good place to test hypotheses about the impact of the mass media on political attitudes and behavior, and this article uses the British Household Panel Survey to investigate the impact of the national daily press on turnout in the general elections of 1992 and 1997. The evidence does not support the hypothesis that reading a newspaper regularly helps to mobilize people on election day, but it also does not support the claim that the daily press-even the notorious British tabloid press-helps to induces political apathy. On the other hand, the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that those whose political altitudes and party identification are reinforced by the paper they read regularly are significantly more likely to vote than those whose attitudes and ID are cross pressured by the paper they read. As predicted, this newspaper effect is statistically significant but not large. The newspaper effect is larger in the close-fought election of 1992 than in the landslide Labour victory in 1997. And it is larger for the "Labour reinforced" than the "Conservative reinforced." The article concludes that the British national press has a statistically significant effect on political behavior in the form of turnout in British elections, especially when election results are close. This, in turn, suggests that the extent to which the Conservative press dominated daily circulation in Britain during 1945-1992, may have helped the Conservative party win elections.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2014 10:43
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2018 18:15

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