American Politics Research-2008-Althaus-824-56(2)

American Politics Research-2008-Althaus-824-56(2) -...

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http://apr.sagepub.com/ American Politics Research http://apr.sagepub.com/content/36/6/824 The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/1532673X08317767 2008 2008 36: 824 originally published online 16 May American Politics Research Scott L. Althaus and Todd C. Trautman Elections The Impact of Television Market Size on Voter Turnout in American Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com can be found at: American Politics Research Additional services and information for http://apr.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://apr.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://apr.sagepub.com/content/36/6/824.refs.html Citations: by guest on March 24, 2011 apr.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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American Politics Research Volume 36 Number 6 November 2008 824-856 © 2008 Sage Publications 10.1177/1532673X08317767 http://apr.sagepub.com hosted at http://online.sagepub.com 824 Authors’ Note: An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2004 annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, May 13 to 16, at Phoenix, Arizona. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers as well as Zach Elkins, Jim Gimpel, Phil Habel, Jim Kuklinski, Doug Schwartz, Tracy Sulkin, and David Tewksbury for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this analysis. The authors also thank Gary King and Bradley Palmquist for col- lecting and distributing the Record of American Democracy data set. The Impact of Television Market Size on Voter Turnout in American Elections Scott L. Althaus University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign Todd C. Trautman Kaiser Permanente, Denver, Colorado The turnout literature has identified individual, social, and institutional factors that increase citizen voting. Our article shows that local television market size also affects turnout. Larger television markets tend to give dispropor- tionate attention to higher-level races involving statewide or national offices. Because voters in larger markets should be exposed to less information about the lower-ticket races in which they are eligible to vote, we expect market size to affect levels of turnout. This article tests market size impact using a novel combination of aggregate turnout data for local voting areas, census data giving contextual information about these areas, and data detailing the boundaries of local television media markets. Using the Record of American Democracy data set, our aggregate-level analysis covers four election cycles (1986 to 1990) and nearly every county in the continental United States. Our analysis shows that voter turnout is negatively associated with television market size, a relationship that is stronger in midterm election years. Keywords: voter turnout; media markets; market size; political communi- cation; designated market areas (DMAs) T he venerable literature on voter turnout has identified a wide range of individual-level, social, and institutional factors that affect the likelihood for citizens to vote in elections (for reviews of this extensive literature, see by guest on March 24, 2011 apr.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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