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Voter Cynicism, Perception of Media Negativism and Voting Behavior in Taiwan's 2001 Election
Unformatted Document Text:  4 Leshner and McKean’s survey of a 1994 U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri showed that using TV news for political and government information is positively associated with knowledge about candidates and not associated with cynicism toward politicians. Bowen, et al. (2000) studied the television reliance and political malaise among 459 Seattle voters and found that Robinson’s videomalaise hypothesis is subject to a number of contingencies. They have suggested that the contributions of media to political malaise are highly variable. However, voters come to election campaigns with considerable baggage: partisanship, personal political issues, decision-making strategies, media preferences and varying levels of political malaise. Specifically, Austin & Pinkelton (1995, 1998) has defined different dimensions of disaffection toward politics among the electorate. Cynicism, for instance, refers to a lack of confidence in, and a feeling of mistrust toward, the political system. Negativism, in turn, refers to feelings of disgust toward campaign tactics. Finally, apathy refers to one’s own unwillingness to exert some degree of effort to involve oneself in the process. Their study of voters in Washington State found that cynicism toward the political system and negativism toward the electoral process was positively associated with voter efficacy and intentions to vote. The political disaffection in their study is related to voter efficacy and behavioral intentions in both positive and negative ways. At least the voters with a more sophisticated understanding of the realities of political discourse are more confident in their ability to affect the system. Pinkleton & Austin (2002) continued studying the relationships among media use frequency, perceived media importance, and media satisfaction in political disaffection and efficacy. The data were collected in 1998, shortly after the Monica Lewinsky scandal involving President Bill Clinton of the United States. Their findings indicated that negative views of the media might be more damaging than negative views about campaigns (p. 158). They have found, in addition, that voters may make distinctions between campaign tactics and campaign coverage, being less bothered by the campaign process than by concerns over fair and complete media coverage of the campaigns. In analyzing the focus group data, Spiker and McKinney (2000) reviewed the causes of political malaise and concluded three primary categories: (a) lack of personal efficacy, (b) media practices contributing to political malaise, and (c) citizen self-interest and lack of civic responsibility. A recent study comparing voters and nonvoters concluded that malaise, defined as voter alienation and cynicism, does not necessarily result in nonvoting (Woodwell, 1996; fro. Spiker & McKinney, 2000,

Authors: Peng, Wein (Bonnie).
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4
Leshner and McKean’s survey of a 1994 U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri showed
that using TV news for political and government information is positively associated
with knowledge about candidates and not associated with cynicism toward politicians.
Bowen, et al. (2000) studied the television reliance and political malaise among 459
Seattle voters and found that Robinson’s videomalaise hypothesis is subject to a
number of contingencies. They have suggested that the contributions of media to
political malaise are highly variable. However, voters come to election campaigns
with considerable baggage: partisanship, personal political issues, decision-making
strategies, media preferences and varying levels of political malaise.
Specifically, Austin & Pinkelton (1995, 1998) has defined different dimensions of
disaffection toward politics among the electorate. Cynicism, for instance, refers to a
lack of confidence in, and a feeling of mistrust toward, the political system.
Negativism, in turn, refers to feelings of disgust toward campaign tactics. Finally,
apathy refers to one’s own unwillingness to exert some degree of effort to involve
oneself in the process. Their study of voters in Washington State found that cynicism
toward the political system and negativism toward the electoral process was positively
associated with voter efficacy and intentions to vote. The political disaffection in their
study is related to voter efficacy and behavioral intentions in both positive and
negative ways. At least the voters with a more sophisticated understanding of the
realities of political discourse are more confident in their ability to affect the system.
Pinkleton & Austin (2002) continued studying the relationships among media use
frequency, perceived media importance, and media satisfaction in political
disaffection and efficacy. The data were collected in 1998, shortly after the Monica
Lewinsky scandal involving President Bill Clinton of the United States. Their findings
indicated that negative views of the media might be more damaging than negative
views about campaigns (p. 158). They have found, in addition, that voters may make
distinctions between campaign tactics and campaign coverage, being less bothered by
the campaign process than by concerns over fair and complete media coverage of the
campaigns.
In analyzing the focus group data, Spiker and McKinney (2000) reviewed the causes
of political malaise and concluded three primary categories: (a) lack of personal
efficacy, (b) media practices contributing to political malaise, and (c) citizen
self-interest and lack of civic responsibility. A recent study comparing voters and
nonvoters concluded that malaise, defined as voter alienation and cynicism, does not
necessarily result in nonvoting (Woodwell, 1996; fro. Spiker & McKinney, 2000,


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