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Agenda setting and political partisanship in an election campaign: Reinforcing and undermining partisan voting intentions
Unformatted Document Text:  11 In an open-ended item, respondents also indicated what they thought had been the key issues that influenced the election outcome. Then, finally, in a series of closed items analogous to those used pre-election, respondents indicated how important (1, not at all important, to 7 very important) each of 10 political issues (including the two on-agenda issues of defense and immigration), had been to them personally and to most Australians when they were thinking about how to vote. Preliminary checks indicated weak to moderate correlations between the two on-agenda issues in terms of importance to the personal and public agenda pre-election, rs = .22 and .36, and post-election, rs = .43 and .55, perceived public support for the Government and Opposition response, rs = .43 and .34, and personal support for the Opposition response, r = .39. Only personal support for the Government response was highly correlated across the two issues, r = .77, and the two issues were thus treated separately in all analyses. Results Media, Public and Personal Agenda In response to an open-ended item pre-election asking participants which issues they thought had been the most prominent in recent news and current affairs, 97% of respondents listed defense and 83% listed immigration. Any other issues mentioned (e.g., the collapse of a major Australian airline, the economy, taxation, health, crime, education and welfare) were mentioned by fewer than 25% of respondents. Responses to an open-ended question post-election indicated that a large majority of respondents thought that the issues of immigration (72%) and defense (71%) were the key issues that had influenced the election outcome, with issues such as economic management and taxation mentioned by fewer than 20% of respondents. In short, respondents believed that the issues of defense and immigration were the focal agenda issues leading into the election and they explained the election outcome largely in terms of this agenda. Next, we considered more systematically the extent to which these two key issues were perceived as important to the public agenda (i.e., to most Australians) and to the voters personally pre-election. Responses were analysed using 2 (public, personal target) x 3 (partisanship) mixed ANOVAs. Analysis on the issue of immigration indicated a significant main effect for target, F(1,180) = 4.27, p = .040, η 2 = .02, that was fully qualified by a significant two-way interaction between the factors, F(2,180) = 4.62, p = .010, η 2 = .05. Similarly, results on the issue of defense indicated significant main effects for target, F(1,179) =

Authors: Duck, Julie., Morton, Thomas. and Fortey, Kate.
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11
In an open-ended item, respondents also indicated what they thought had been the key
issues that influenced the election outcome. Then, finally, in a series of closed items analogous
to those used pre-election, respondents indicated how important (1, not at all important, to 7
very important) each of 10 political issues (including the two on-agenda issues of defense and
immigration), had been to them personally and to most Australians when they were thinking
about how to vote.
Preliminary checks indicated weak to moderate correlations between the two on-agenda
issues in terms of importance to the personal and public agenda pre-election, rs = .22 and .36,
and post-election, rs = .43 and .55, perceived public support for the Government and Opposition
response, rs = .43 and .34, and personal support for the Opposition response, r = .39. Only
personal support for the Government response was highly correlated across the two issues, r =
.77, and the two issues were thus treated separately in all analyses.
Results
Media, Public and Personal Agenda
In response to an open-ended item pre-election asking participants which issues they thought
had been the most prominent in recent news and current affairs, 97% of respondents listed
defense and 83% listed immigration. Any other issues mentioned (e.g., the collapse of a major
Australian airline, the economy, taxation, health, crime, education and welfare) were mentioned
by fewer than 25% of respondents. Responses to an open-ended question post-election indicated
that a large majority of respondents thought that the issues of immigration (72%) and defense
(71%) were the key issues that had influenced the election outcome, with issues such as
economic management and taxation mentioned by fewer than 20% of respondents. In short,
respondents believed that the issues of defense and immigration were the focal agenda issues
leading into the election and they explained the election outcome largely in terms of this agenda.
Next, we considered more systematically the extent to which these two key issues were
perceived as important to the public agenda (i.e., to most Australians) and to the voters
personally pre-election. Responses were analysed using 2 (public, personal target) x 3
(partisanship) mixed ANOVAs. Analysis on the issue of immigration indicated a significant
main effect for target, F(1,180) = 4.27, p = .040,
η
2
= .02, that was fully qualified by a
significant two-way interaction between the factors, F(2,180) = 4.62, p = .010,
η
2
= .05.
Similarly, results on the issue of defense indicated significant main effects for target, F(1,179) =


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