Variations in the effectiveness of media priming are traditionally attributed to individual differences in political sophistication and news exposure. We contribute to this literature by considering the degree to which the content of an issue prime drives its use in presidential approval. Using a macro level approach, we combine public opinion data on presidential approval from 1981 to 2000 with content analyses of presidential news coverage to see how media attention affects the way issues are weighted in presidential approval. We find that the effectiveness of issue primes depends on issue content, such that familiar and understandable issues are more likely to be primed than more complex and difficult issues.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 3, 2006
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