Atkeson and Partin: Candidate Advertisemens, media coverage, and citizen attitudes
Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.
Atkeson and Partin. 2001. Candidate advertisements, media coverage, and citizen attitudes: Agendas and roles of Senators and governors. Political Research Quarterly.
Federalism serves as a cue (or, as the authors say, a "frame") by which we understand which policy issues a candidate should discuss. National candidates (Senators) can discuss redistribution (Social Security, Medicaid) and national security; state candidates (governors) can discuss development (economy, education, transportation, crime/drugs, environment). This federal frame determines (1) what candidates say, (2) what the media say, and (3) what voters think.
Hypotheses and Methods
H1: Campaign ads
- Hyp: Senators will run advertisements discussing national concerns and redistribution, governors will run advertisements discussing development.
- Test: Sample 1986 Senate and gubernatorial races. Collect all TV ads from sampled races. Code whether they discuss an issue.
H2: News coverage
- Hyp: Newspapers will discuss national concerns and redistribution when covering Senate campaigns; they will cover developmental concerns when covering gubernatorial campaigns.
- Test: Sample four states that had both a Senate and gubernatorial race in 1986. Cover news coverage in the largest paper for each state and see which issues are mentioned in articles about particular candidates.
H3: Voter perceptions
- Hyp: Voters will assign responsibility for national concerns to Senators; they will assign responsibility for development concerns to governors.
- Test: A survey in New Mexico. Ask respondents to assign responsibility for each issue to either the governor ("1" on a seven-point scale), the Senator ("7" on the scale), or shared ("4") on the scale.
- See Table 2. It's a logit to predict whether the candidate was for Senate (Y=0) or governor (Y=1). Most coefficients are highly significant.
- See Table 4. Shows that voters do assign responsibility for issues either to governor or Senator.