Research has detailed the potential link between exposure to the mass media and the process of developing attitudes. Less examined, however, are the consequences of differing levels of media consumption on the nature of attitudes at both the individual and aggregate levels. This paper assesses the relationship between media consumption and public opinion in the U.S. (expressed through the macro concept of Policy Mood and an analogous micro concept we call policy liberalism). At the individual level, we find that increased levels of newspaper readership reduce variance in opinion, but that increased levels of television viewership do not. At the aggregate level, our results show that the opinions of media-consuming subgroups move in parallel for the most part, with similar causal dynamics. A slight exception to this parallelism lies with those who barely, if ever, read newspapers.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2013
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