Campaign Advertising and the Cultivation of Crime Worry: Testing Relationships With Two Large Datasets From the 2016 U.S. Election Cycle

Jiawei Liu, Rosemary J. Avery, Erika F. Fowler, Laura Baum, Sarah E. Gollust, Colleen L. Barry, Brendan Welch, Emmett Tabor, Nathaniel W. Lee, Jeff Niederdeppe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous research has documented that political information in the mass media can shape attitudes and behaviors beyond voter choice and election turnout. The current study extends this body of work to examine associations between televised political campaign advertising (one of the most common forms of political communication people encounter) and worry about crime and violence in the context of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We merge two large datasets—Kantar/CMAG data on televised campaign advertisement airings (n = 3,767,477) and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NCS) data on television viewing patterns and public attitudes (n = 26,703 respondents in the United States)—to test associations between estimated exposure to campaign ads about crime and crime worry, controlling for demographics, local crime rates, and political factors. Results from multivariate models show that estimated cumulative exposure to campaign ads about crime is associated with higher levels of crime worry. Exposure to campaign ads about crime increased crime worry among Republicans, but not Democrats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Press/Politics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (grant no. 73619). The authors purchased the Simmons National Consumer Survey (NCS) data used in this study from internal faculty research accounts provided by their respective colleges and departments. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • cultivation
  • media effects
  • political advertising
  • political communication

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