Agatha Kratz, Harald Schoen
Just Like Leaves in the Wind? Exploring the Effect of the Interplay of Media Coverage and Personal Characteristics on Issue Salience

Pp. 43-70 in: Harald Schoen, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Bernhard Weßels, Christof Wolf (Eds.): Voters and Voting in Context: Multiple Contexts and the Heterogeneous German Electorate. 2017. Oxford: Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the effect of the interplay of personal characteristics and news coverage on issue salience during the 2009 to 2015 period and during the election campaign in 2013. We selected four topics that played a considerable role during this period: the labor market, pensions and healthcare, immigration, and the financial crisis. The evidence from pooled cross-sectional data and panel data supports the notion that news coverage affects citizens’ issue salience. For obtrusive issues, news coverage does not play as large a role as for rather remote topics like the financial crisis and immigration. The results also lend credence to the idea that political predilections and other individual differences are related to issue salience and constrain the impact of news coverage on voters’ issue salience. However, the evidence for the interplay of individual differences and media coverage proved mild at best.