THE ROLE OF THE PRESS IN DETERMINING VOTER REACTIONS TO PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES1

Authors

  • LEE B. BECKER,

    1. Lee B. Becker (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1974) is an associate professor in the School of Journalism at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210.
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  • MAXWELL E. McCOMBS

    1. Maxwell E. McCombs (Ph.D., Stanford University, 1966) is John Ben Snow Professor of Newspaper Research and director of the Communications Research Center, S.I. New house School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. 13210.
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  • This study accepted for publication May 4, 1978.

Abstract

A conceptual scheme has been presented to examine media influence during the presidential primary season. The scheme, a byproduct of research on the role of the press in setting the public issue agenda, allows for an examination of media effects on what has been labeled the cognitive components of candidate image. Data from a longitudinal study conducted in upstate New York in the spring of 1976 are used to empirically test the conceptual framework. The data are interpreted to indicate that indeed there is a great deal of flux in certain aspects of public opinion during the presidential primary season. The media are seen as partial determinants of that flux.

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