Date of Award
Master of Science
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
Previous voting studies classified voters into three groups - pre-campaign deciders, campaign deciders, and last-minute deciders - according their vote decision timing and suggested a linear relationship between time-of-voting decision and political/nonpolitical characteristics, predicting that the earlier voters make their decisions, the more inclined they are to be politically involved, interested and attentive.
This study re-examines the linear relationship suggested by past studies, treating time-of-voting decision as a dependent variable. Furthermore, it explores the roles of interpersonal communications, specifically heterogeneity within interpersonal communication networks, in individuals' voting behaviors with the expectation that heterogeneity is a primary determinant of the time-of-voting decision.
Data for the study came from the 2000 American National Election Studies, and the same variables as previous studies were used in analysis. Results showed there were no significant differences between campaign deciders and last-minute deciders, while pre-campaign deciders significantly differed from the other two groups. Further analysis with non-voters included found that both campaign deciders and last-minute deciders showed significantly higher levels of political participation and interests than non-voters. These results do not support the findings of previous studies.
Heterogeneity was found to be an important predictor for time-of-voting decision. Supporting the "cross-pressure" hypothesis, it was found that as heterogeneity increased, opinion formation was delayed. Also, it was revealed that heterogeneity was negatively correlated with political participation and media use and attention. The results suggest that heterogeneity should be reconsidered as an important factor to fully understand the process by which electoral preferences are formed and affected by campaign messages.
Oh, Poong, "Re-examining the role of interpersonal communications in "time-of-voting decision" studies" (2009). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 10493.