Assessing the television campaign

The impact of party election broadcasting on voters' opinions in the 1997 British General Election

C. J. Pattie*, R. J. Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although paid television and radio political advertising is banned in the United Kingdom, parties fielding sufficient candidates are entitled to free air time during election campaigns for a fixed number of party election broadcasts (PEBs). Over the years, parties have experimented with a variety of different PEB formats. But the impact of PEBs on voters is underresearched. This article therefore analyzes the influence of PEB viewing in the 1997 British General Election. Though a majority do not view PEBs, those who do are influenced by them, especially in terms of their evaluations of parties and their leaders: Other things being equal, viewers of a party's PEBs become more favorably disposed to the party and its leader than those who do not see the broadcast. Labour and Conservative PEBs have no impact on vote intentions, however. But viewers of Liberal Democrat broadcasts become more likely to support that party. We speculate that this reflects different background levels of media exposure for the major parties as compared to the third party.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-358
Number of pages26
JournalPolitical Communication
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002

Keywords

  • Election broadcasting
  • Television campaigns
  • Voting behavior

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