Partial priming: how issue news shapes issue saliency, which shapes turnout but not the vote
Issues are not neutral. This study about the Dutch 2016 referendum on the EU–Ukraine association treaty asks which issues dominated the news media in the campaign, how the news about these issues influenced the saliency of benefits and disadvantages of the treaty, and how the latter in turn influenced turnout and the vote. A content analysis of newspapers and television news shows that trade and democracy were much more prominent in the news than EU support for Ukraine against Russia. Linking the content analysis to a long-term panel survey reveals that issue news in self-selected media influenced the saliency of benefits and disadvantages of the treaty. The latter motivated voters to cast a vote, but priming was only partial since the voters’ “Yes” or “No” was primarily driven by prior dissatisfaction with the EU and the national government.
KeywordsReferenda Media effects Priming Issue voting Euroscepticism
The authors would like to express their gratitude for the detailed comments from the anonymous reviewers, the editor of the special issue Kristof Jacobs, and the editor of Acta Politica, Rens Vliegenthart.
- Budge, I., and D.J. Farlie. 1983. Explaining and predicting elections: Issues effects and party strategies in twenty-three democracies. London: George, Allen and Urwin.Google Scholar
- Converse, P.E. 1964. The nature of belief systems in mass publics. In Ideology and discontent, ed. D.E. Apter, 202–261. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- de Vreese, C.H., Azrout, R., and H.G. Boomgaarden. 2018. One size fits all? Testing the dimensional structure of EU attitudes in 21 countries. International Journal of Public Opinion Research: edy003.Google Scholar
- Donsbach, W. 1991. Medienwirkung trotz Selektion: Einflussfaktoren auf die Zuwendung zu Zeitungsinhalten. Köln/Weimar/Wien: Böhlau.Google Scholar
- Hendriks, F., K. van der Krieken, and C. Wagenaar. 2017. Democratische zegen of vloek?: aantekeningen bij het referendum. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
- Iyengar, S., and D.R. Kinder. 1987, 2010. News that matters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Jacobs, K., van Klingeren, M., van der Kolk, H., et al. 2016. Het Oekraine-referendum: nationaal referendumonderzoek 2016. https://kennisopenbaarbestuur.nl/rapporten-publicaties/het-oekra%C3%AFne-referendum-nationaal-referendum-onderzoek-2016/.
- Kleinnijenhuis, J., and W. Van Atteveldt. 2018. Dataverse with Partial priming: How issue news shapes issue saliency, which shapes turnout but not the vote (Publication no. hdl/10411/QVPJRM). DataverseNL. https://hdl.handle.net/10411/QVPJRM.
- Kleinnijenhuis, J., J. Takens, and W. van Atteveldt. 2006. Toen Europa de dagbladen ging vullen. In Nederlanders en Europa: het referendum over de Europese Grondwet, ed. H. van der Kolk and K. Aarts, 123–144. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker.Google Scholar
- Sniderman, P.M., and S.M. Theriault. 2004. The structure of political argument and the logic of issue framing. In Studies in public opinion: Attitudes, nonattitudes, measurement error, and change, ed. W.E. Saris and P.M. Sniderman, 133–165. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- van Atteveldt, W. 2008. Semantic network analysis: Techniques for extracting, representing and querying media content. Charleston, SC: BookSurge Publishers.Google Scholar
- Van Noije, L., J.A. Kleinnijenhuis, and D. Oegema. 2008. Loss of parliamentary control due to mediatization and Europeanization: A longitudinal and cross-sectional analysis of agenda building in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. British Journal of Political Science 38: 455–478.Google Scholar