Title page for ETD etd-1114101-185702


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hobbs, Scott
URN etd-1114101-185702
Title Attribute Agenda-Setting in an Open Primary: An Examination of Press Coverage and Political Ad Effects
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
H. Denis Wu Committee Chair
David Perlmutter Committee Member
Richard Nelson Committee Member
Keywords
  • agenda-setting
  • candidate image
  • open primary
Date of Defense 2001-10-30
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Creating a favorable candidate image is one of the more difficult tasks a political consultant faces. Besides researching which issues their client will address, the consultant must analyze what attributes voters find most appealing in a candidate. Then, through a complex process, a candidate image is finally packaged and presented to the public.

This thesis looks at the end result of the packaging process for a Mayoral candidate in East Baton Rouge parish. By examining the press coverage and campaign ads in a local election in a mid-size city, this study expands on previous second level agenda-setting research. Literature in this area has mostly focused on national and international campaigns where there is heavy and extended media coverage.

In addition to examining the media effects, the electorate, media habits, and campaign interest are studied to see whether there are any predictors to attribute agenda-setting. Also, this analysis focuses on one candidate in a multi-candidate open primary. The multitude of candidates waging multimedia campaigns in a short time span may produce too much clutter and confusion for any real second level effects to take place, but this a worthwhile study as it could lead to future studies in multi-candidate presidential primaries.

A public opinion survey was conducted over the last three days of the open primary in an effort to capture the strongest media effects. Over a seven-week period the media coverage and ads in this campaign were analyzed for content to determine whether there is a significant display of attributes.

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