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Agenda setting and political partisanship in an election campaign: Reinforcing and undermining partisan voting intentions
Unformatted Document Text:  15 somewhat larger for Liberal partisans (87%) than for Labor partisans (75%), χ 2 (1) = 2.94, p = .09. By contrast, voting intentions among neutral voters were quite diverse: 19% intended to vote for the Labor party, 32% for the Liberal-National Coalition and 49% for a minor party or independent. Voting Behavior and Prediction of Post-election Political Perceptions In line with their stated intentions pre-election, 88% of Liberal partisans reported voting along partisan lines on election day. By contrast, only 69% of Labor partisans (compared with 75% pre-election) reported voting for their preferred party, with almost one-third (31%) voting instead for one of the minor parties or for an independent. Clearly, Labor partisans voted in a less partisan way than Liberal partisans, χ 2 (1) = 6.91, p = .009, and a number of Labor partisans who had previously intended to vote along partisan lines, decided against this. The voting decisions of neutral voters remained diverse: 24% reported voting for the ALP, 36% for the Liberal-National Coalition and 41% for a minor party or for an independent. Finally, and most importantly, we sought to determine the extent to which the personal importance of on-agenda issues pre-election influenced respondents’ thought about their voting decision, reconsideration of their voting intentions, certainty in their voting decision, and confidence in the newly re-elected Prime Minister, John Howard –– all reported post-election. A series of regression analyses was conducted in which political partisanship (represented in two dummy coded variables) was entered at Step 1, personal importance (pre-election) of the issues of defense and immigration respectively were entered at Step 2, and the two-way interaction between partisanship and either importance of the issue of immigration or importance of the issue of defense was entered at Step 3. The analysis on thought given to voting decision revealed a significant increment in explained variance at Step 1 after inclusion of political partisanship, R 2 change = .05, F(2,177) = 4.77, p = .010. Overall, Labor voters (M = 5.98) reported having thought about their voting decision more than neutral voters (M = 5.47), and Liberal partisans (M = 5.12) reported having thought about their voting decision least of all. Issue importance added reliably to thought given to voting decision, R 2 change = .04, F(2,175) = 3.88, p = .022. Although there was no significant main effect of importance of defense, β = .08, t(175) = 1.04, ns, respondents reported having thought about their voting decision more to the extent that they had regarded the issue of immigration as personally important pre-election, β = .17, t(175) = 2.27, p = .025. There was no

Authors: Duck, Julie., Morton, Thomas. and Fortey, Kate.
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somewhat larger for Liberal partisans (87%) than for Labor partisans (75%),
χ
2
(1) = 2.94, p =
.09. By contrast, voting intentions among neutral voters were quite diverse: 19% intended to
vote for the Labor party, 32% for the Liberal-National Coalition and 49% for a minor party or
independent.
Voting Behavior and Prediction of Post-election Political Perceptions
In line with their stated intentions pre-election, 88% of Liberal partisans reported voting along
partisan lines on election day. By contrast, only 69% of Labor partisans (compared with 75%
pre-election) reported voting for their preferred party, with almost one-third (31%) voting
instead for one of the minor parties or for an independent. Clearly, Labor partisans voted in a
less partisan way than Liberal partisans,
χ
2
(1) = 6.91, p = .009, and a number of Labor partisans
who had previously intended to vote along partisan lines, decided against this. The voting
decisions of neutral voters remained diverse: 24% reported voting for the ALP, 36% for the
Liberal-National Coalition and 41% for a minor party or for an independent.
Finally, and most importantly, we sought to determine the extent to which the personal
importance of on-agenda issues pre-election influenced respondents’ thought about their voting
decision, reconsideration of their voting intentions, certainty in their voting decision, and
confidence in the newly re-elected Prime Minister, John Howard –– all reported post-election. A
series of regression analyses was conducted in which political partisanship (represented in two
dummy coded variables) was entered at Step 1, personal importance (pre-election) of the issues
of defense and immigration respectively were entered at Step 2, and the two-way interaction
between partisanship and either importance of the issue of immigration or importance of the
issue of defense was entered at Step 3.
The analysis on thought given to voting decision revealed a significant increment in
explained variance at Step 1 after inclusion of political partisanship, R
2
change = .05, F(2,177) =
4.77, p = .010. Overall, Labor voters (M = 5.98) reported having thought about their voting
decision more than neutral voters (M = 5.47), and Liberal partisans (M = 5.12) reported having
thought about their voting decision least of all. Issue importance added reliably to thought given
to voting decision, R
2
change = .04, F(2,175) = 3.88, p = .022. Although there was no significant
main effect of importance of defense,
β
= .08, t(175) = 1.04, ns, respondents reported having
thought about their voting decision more to the extent that they had regarded the issue of
immigration as personally important pre-election,
β
= .17, t(175) = 2.27, p = .025. There was no


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