Primed for war: National factors, media priming, and gubernatorial elections
Panaro, Brian D.
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From the earliest works on there has been no clear explanation on what affects voter decisions at the state level. Is it a combination of presidential coattails and national factors, or does it truly rely on state factors? I present an alternative theory of voter choice for gubernatorial elections that has greater empirical evidence. Based on the ideas of priming theory, the theory that deals with the amount of attention that the media pays to a particular issue; the more attention that the media pays to a particular issue the more that the public will be primed by it and the more they will incorporate their knowledge of the issue into their overall judgment and vote choice. Using exit poll data from both the 2004 and 2006 gubernatorial elections and the media coverage of the Iraq War during the three months prior to the elections; I find strong empirical evidence that supports my theory that voters were primed by the coverage of the Iraq War causing them to vote for a governor based on the medias' coverage and their opinions of the war.