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Agenda setting and political partisanship in an election campaign: Reinforcing and undermining partisan voting intentions
Unformatted Document Text:  9 Pre- and post-election, respondents indicated how much (1 not at all, 7 very much), they supported each of the two major political parties. Respondents were asked, regardless of how they intended to vote in the up-coming election (pre-election) or had voted (post-election), how much they considered themselves to be a supporter of the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal-National Coalition, respectively. Responses to the items measuring identification as a Liberal supporter were reverse-scored and responses averaged to provide indices of partisanship pre- and post-election ( α s = .62 and .69 respectively). Preliminary analyses indicated that these measures were very stable over time (r = .93) and a more reliable composite index of partisanship was thus formed by averaging responses to the four items ( α = .86). Scores on the composite index were used to categorise respondents into three groups. Those who scored 3 on the 7-point scale were categorised as Liberal partisans (n = 77). Those who scored 5 on the 7-point scale were categorised as Labor partisans (n = 48); and those who scored between 3 and 5 (i.e., close to the scale midpoint on the 7-point scale) were categorised as neutral in their political preferences (n = 59). As intended, the three groups differed reliably from each other on political partisanship, F(2,181) = 717.18, p = .000, (Ms = 1.86 Liberal partisans, 4.07 neutral voters, and 6.00 Labor partisans). While Liberal partisans scored below the scale midpoint, t(76) = -27.32, p =.000, and Labor partisans above the scale midpoint, t(47) = 22.66, p =.000, the mean level of partisanship for neutral voters did not differ reliably from the scale midpoint of 4, t(58) = 1.13, ns. There was no difference between the two partisan groups in strength of political partisanship, Ms = 2.14 and 1.99, t(123) = 1.17, ns. Moreover, preliminary checks indicated that there were no significant between-group differences according to age, F(2,180) = 1.44, ns, gender, χ 2 (2) = 1.17, ns, education, χ 2 (2) = 2.68, ns, vocation, χ 2 (2) = 1.65, ns, place of residence, χ 2 (2) 1.36, ns, or political interest, F(2,181) = 2.16, ns. Personal and public agendas / opinion (pre-election). In an open-ended item, respondents listed the issues they thought had been most prominent in recent media coverage of news and current affairs. Next, participants indicated how important (1, not at all important, to 7 very important) each of 10 pre-specified political issues was to them personally (personal agenda) and to most Australians at the present time (perceived public agenda). Issues included the two on-agenda issues of defense and immigration, as well as a range of alternative political issues (e.g., education, taxation, unemployment, health, crime, reconciliation with Indigenous people, the environment, and protection of Australian industry).

Authors: Duck, Julie., Morton, Thomas. and Fortey, Kate.
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9
Pre- and post-election, respondents indicated how much (1 not at all, 7 very much), they
supported each of the two major political parties. Respondents were asked, regardless of how
they intended to vote in the up-coming election (pre-election) or had voted (post-election), how
much they considered themselves to be a supporter of the Australian Labor Party and the
Liberal-National Coalition, respectively. Responses to the items measuring identification as a
Liberal supporter were reverse-scored and responses averaged to provide indices of partisanship
pre- and post-election (
α
s = .62 and .69 respectively). Preliminary analyses indicated that these
measures were very stable over time (r = .93) and a more reliable composite index of
partisanship was thus formed by averaging responses to the four items (
α
= .86).
Scores on the composite index were used to categorise respondents into three groups.
Those who scored 3 on the 7-point scale were categorised as Liberal partisans (n = 77). Those
who scored 5 on the 7-point scale were categorised as Labor partisans (n = 48); and those who
scored between 3 and 5 (i.e., close to the scale midpoint on the 7-point scale) were categorised
as neutral in their political preferences (n = 59). As intended, the three groups differed reliably
from each other on political partisanship, F(2,181) = 717.18, p = .000, (Ms = 1.86 Liberal
partisans, 4.07 neutral voters, and 6.00 Labor partisans). While Liberal partisans scored below
the scale midpoint, t(76) = -27.32, p =.000, and Labor partisans above the scale midpoint, t(47)
= 22.66, p =.000, the mean level of partisanship for neutral voters did not differ reliably from the
scale midpoint of 4, t(58) = 1.13, ns. There was no difference between the two partisan groups in
strength of political partisanship, Ms = 2.14 and 1.99, t(123) = 1.17, ns. Moreover, preliminary
checks indicated that there were no significant between-group differences according to age,
F(2,180) = 1.44, ns, gender,
χ
2
(2) = 1.17, ns, education,
χ
2
(2) = 2.68, ns, vocation,
χ
2
(2) = 1.65,
ns, place of residence,
χ
2
(2) 1.36, ns, or political interest, F(2,181) = 2.16, ns.
Personal and public agendas / opinion (pre-election). In an open-ended item,
respondents listed the issues they thought had been most prominent in recent media coverage of
news and current affairs. Next, participants indicated how important (1, not at all important, to 7
very important) each of 10 pre-specified political issues was to them personally (personal
agenda) and to most Australians at the present time (perceived public agenda). Issues included
the two on-agenda issues of defense and immigration, as well as a range of alternative political
issues (e.g., education, taxation, unemployment, health, crime, reconciliation with Indigenous
people, the environment, and protection of Australian industry).


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