Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Alexander Staudt
Media Biases and Voter Attitudes during the 2009, 2013, and 2017 Federal Election Campaigns

Pp. 257-281 in: Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Harald Schoen, Bernhard Weßels, Christof Wolf (Eds.): The Changing German Voter. 2022. Oxford: Oxford University Press

The chapter examines the persuasive effects of newspapers and TV news on voters’ evaluations of the parties and their candidates. Merging data from rolling cross-section voter surveys and media content analyses, the chapter demonstrates that voters’ electoral attitudes were responsive to the amount of news coverage devoted to the electoral competitors (coverage bias) as well as the tonality with which they were addressed (statement bias); that these effects came about not only directly through personal media exposure but also indirectly in response to overall media coverage conveyed to voters by means of interpersonal communication; that they pertained to TV news more clearly than to the press; and that they affected apartisan voters more strongly than those identifying with a party. During the three election campaigns, these media effects manifested themselves primarily in short-term fluctuations of voters’ electoral attitudes. Thus, in all likelihood, they did not affect the outcomes of the elections.