ERIC Number: ED204816
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-May
Reference Count: N/A
Communication of Political Information during Early Presidential Primaries: Cognition, Affect, and Uncertainty.
Kennamer, J. David; Chaffee, Steven H.
As part of a larger study of political socialization in adolescence, 782 adolescents and 718 parents were surveyed to test hypotheses about political information as a function of the early phase of a presidential campaign and the news exposure level of the respondent. Despite shortcomings in the sample design and in the precision of interview timing, it was established that there was considerable variation in the flow and acquisition of political information during the early weeks of the presidential campaign. Audience members who were heavily exposed to campaign-related news events were quick to translate these news events into more highly structured affective reactions and preferences regarding candidates. Such activity probably tends to hasten the process of sorting out a few leading candidates from their straggling opponents ("winnowing"). Simple conceptions of "information" that were limited to individual-level cognitions failed to tap some of the most important aspects of these winnowing processes. The structuring of political affect and the arousal and resolution of uncertainty at the aggregate level were seen as important indicators of the dependence of the media's audience on campaign news during the critical early phases of the campaign year. (RL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A