News matters: Influences on the vote in the Danish 2000 euro referendum campaign


Claes H. de Vreese, Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Abstract.  This study investigates how the information environment in the Danish 2000 euro referendum campaign served to crystallize opinion on the issue within the context of a number of other hypothesized influences on the vote, based on previous studies of referendum voting. Our data include a nationally representative two-wave panel survey and a content analysis of news coverage during the referendum campaign. We develop a weighted measure of exposure to news on public and private television channels, that takes into account the volume and tone of the coverage towards the YES and NO campaigns, and using this we find that exposure to public television news significantly influences vote choice when controlling for other predictors. We also find varied levels of support for hypotheses concerning the influence of other key variables such as ideology, economic evaluations, government approval and issue-specific contextual variables. The findings emphasize the importance of considering the information environment during referendum campaigns.