Markus Baumann, Martin Gross
Where Is My Party? Introducing New Data Sets on Ideological Cohesion and Ambiguity of Party Positions in Media Coverage

Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 167
32 S.
ISSN: 1437-8574

Political parties change their policy positions throughout the course of an election campaign. They reinforce some of their campaign statements by articulating them more prominently while simultaneously downplaying other issues that may harm their election results. Party statements in the media and the framing of the statements by the media are at the centre of election campaigns. The most promising way to assess the clarity and consistency of party-provided messages is a media content analysis. In this working paper, we introduce new data sets on ideological cohesion and ambiguity of party positions in the media coverage of nine European countries. The data sets are divided in different aspects: (i) parties talking about themselves; (ii) parties talking about other parties; (iii) journalists talking about parties. Each of these data sets further distinguishes between three different kinds of information: (i) party/journalist talking about an issue area; (ii) party/journalist talking about the valence of that issue area; (iii) party/journalist talking about general valence characteristics, such as the competence or performance of party leaders. These measures of party campaign contents, differentiating between policy-centred and leader-centred campaigns and media framing, may serve as a basis for several future studies focusing on election campaigns and media impact in a cross-national way.