Computer content analysis of press coverage and prediction of public opinion for the 1995 sovereignty referendum in Quebec

David P. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article uses a computerized method to score news coverage of the 1995 referendum in Quebec, Canada, asking whether that province should become sovereign. The news for English-speaking Canada was represented by the Canadian Press (CP) newswire, whereas la Presse canadienne (PC), the sister news service, was used as the surrogate for the French language press in Quebec. The CP was analyzed for paragraphs supporting the Yes and the No positions, and the PC was scored for the equivalent positions of the Oui and the Non. Both news services were also analyzed for the major campaign themes and coverage of the four major political leaders. The Oui and the Non paragraphs in the PC were good predictors of the time trend of opinion polls leading up to the referendum. The campaign could be separated into four distinct phases based on the prominence of coverage of different political leaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-366
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

Keywords

  • Canada
  • Content analysis
  • Opinion
  • Quebec
  • Text
  • Time trend

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