Archive WP3: Media, Parties and Voters

This project will analyze the role of the media in the 2009 regional elections campaign, with special attention to the relations between voters and parties during pre-election times. To what extent do the mass media determine the electoral campaign taking up functions previously fulfilled by parties and civil society? The project will draw upon a pre-electoral panel survey in Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels and upon content analysis of mass media. International research on the media’s role during elections yielded mixed results so far. Hypotheses about agenda-setting, framing, issue-ownership… have sometimes been rejected and sometimes confirmed. In Belgium, research on media and elections has only been starting but the (pre-electoral) panel design and the institutional set-up of Belgium with two separated media systems and party systems within the same constitutional and legislative framework produces a powerful research design that will allow to enhance our knowledge about the mass media’s political impact.