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Journal Article

The Media's Role in Forming Voters' National Economic Evaluations in 1992

Marc J. Hetherington
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 40, No. 2 (May, 1996), pp. 372-395
DOI: 10.2307/2111629
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111629
Page Count: 24
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The Media's Role in Forming Voters' National Economic Evaluations in 1992
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Abstract

In terms of economic voting, voters' perceptions of economic indicators can be more important than the statistics themselves. This distinction is particularly important in understanding George Bush's defeat in 1992. Relentlessly negative reporting on economic performance during the election year negatively affected voters' perceptions of the economy. These altered perceptions influenced voting behavior. Ordinary least squares regression is used to demonstrate the media's impact on economic evaluations. Logistic regression is used to demonstrate the importance of economic evaluations in vote choice. Media consumption and attention to the presidential campaign through the mass media negatively shaped voters' retrospective economic assessments. These assessments were significantly related to vote choice. This suggests an explanation for why George Bush lost reelection despite an economy that had rebounded from recession well in advance of election day.

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