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Young People, Media Use, and Voter Turnout: An Analysis of the 2000 National Election Study
Unformatted Document Text:  Young Voters and Media Use 4 Lazarsfeld et al. (1944), as early as 1940s, found that the news media helped activate citizens and increased voter turnout. Since then, scholars in various fields have demonstrated that the voters rely on the news media, particularly newspaper and television news for political information (e.g. Chaffee and Choe, 1980; Lowden and Andersen, 1994; Weaver and Drew, 1995). Recently, Wilkins (2000) conducted a survey study among adult residents of Texas and found that there are positive relationships between voters’ media use and political knowledge, and between voters’ media use and the electoral behavior. She found that people who watched television news or read newspapers were more likely to participate in electoral politics than those who did not. It is a general consensus that heavy use of news media, whether it is newspaper, television news, or radio news, increases voters’ political knowledge and their likelihood of voting (e.g. Chaffee et al., 1994; Drew and Weaver, 1998). However, researchers have found that different media uses tend to influence voters differently and that voters use different media for different purposes. In a survey study done in Lansing, Michigan, Reagan and Ducey (1983) found that neither television nor radio exposure was related to differences in levels of knowledge or voting. In this study, however, the authors found that heavier exposure to newspapers was related to higher levels of knowledge as well as higher levels of voting. Choi and Becker (1987) also found a similar pattern in their panel survey during the 1982 Iowa gubernatorial campaign. In their survey, the voters’ issue discrimination was related to newspaper reading, whereas television news viewing made little or no contribution to issue discrimination.

Authors: Kim, Eunsong.
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Young Voters and Media Use
4
Lazarsfeld et al. (1944), as early as 1940s, found that the news media helped
activate citizens and increased voter turnout. Since then, scholars in various fields have
demonstrated that the voters rely on the news media, particularly newspaper and
television news for political information (e.g. Chaffee and Choe, 1980; Lowden and
Andersen, 1994; Weaver and Drew, 1995). Recently, Wilkins (2000) conducted a
survey study among adult residents of Texas and found that there are positive
relationships between voters’ media use and political knowledge, and between voters’
media use and the electoral behavior. She found that people who watched television
news or read newspapers were more likely to participate in electoral politics than those
who did not.
It is a general consensus that heavy use of news media, whether it is newspaper,
television news, or radio news, increases voters’ political knowledge and their
likelihood of voting (e.g. Chaffee et al., 1994; Drew and Weaver, 1998). However,
researchers have found that different media uses tend to influence voters differently and
that voters use different media for different purposes.
In a survey study done in Lansing, Michigan, Reagan and Ducey (1983) found
that neither television nor radio exposure was related to differences in levels of
knowledge or voting. In this study, however, the authors found that heavier exposure to
newspapers was related to higher levels of knowledge as well as higher levels of voting.
Choi and Becker (1987) also found a similar pattern in their panel survey during the
1982 Iowa gubernatorial campaign. In their survey, the voters’ issue discrimination was
related to newspaper reading, whereas television news viewing made little or no
contribution to issue discrimination.


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