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Javnost - The Public , Vol. 18 - 2011, No. 1

Mapping Parties’ Issue Agenda in Different Channels of Campaign Communication: A Wild Goose Chase?

, pages: 37-52

Measuring party agendas is a central enterprise in agenda-setting studies, but there is no consensus on which empirical material to use to capture such agendas, and no study systematically compares different communication channels of individual parties. A crucial question arises: To what extent do political parties campaign on the same issues in different channels of campaign communication? Using quantitative content analysis to measure the agendas of Danish parties in six campaign channels during five national elections, the article empirically demonstrates that parties emphasise quite different issues in different channels, most likely due to strategic considerations. Potentially, this conclusion has profound implications for the research field: acknowledging the dissimilarity of the same party’s issue attention in different empirical material, scholars may not be able to directly compare agenda studies based on e.g. election manifestos and commercial ads. Thus, future agenda-setting studies should include multiple channels or begin a search for a standard source.

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