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Political Leaders and Democratic Elections$
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Kees Aarts, André Blais, and Hermann Schmitt

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199259007

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199259007.001.0001

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Changing Patterns in Political Communication

Changing Patterns in Political Communication

(p.11) 2 Changing Patterns in Political Communication
Political Leaders and Democratic Elections

Dieter Ohr

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the empirical basis of hypotheses on personalization and presidentialization with respect to election campaigns and the media coverage of politics. It begins by presenting some of the main arguments behind the notion that political communication has become more personalized in advanced democracies in general and more presidentialized in parliamentary, party-dominated democracies in particular. It then considers whether and why a more ‘candidate- or leader-centred’ presentation of politics should have an impact on the political judgements of voters. Next, it presents empirical evidence which sheds light on the degree of personalized and presidentialized political communication in advanced democracies. The focus will be on the structural changes in the media systems of Western democracies that have occurred during the last decades, such as the spread of television, and which are likely to have fundamentally altered the rules of the game for the mass media coverage of politics. It also assesses to what extent the main communication media, that is, television and the press, have changed their coverage of politics in terms of personalization and/or presidentialization.

Keywords:   political leaders, personalization, presidentialization, media coverage, election campaigns, political communication

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