How party‒issue linkages vary between election manifestos and media debates...

with Tobias Schwarzbözl and Mathias Fatke, West European Politics 2019. OnlineFirst DOI: 10.1080/01402382.2019.1609292

Existing research on party behaviour has largely focused on the drivers of issue salience in direct party communication. However, less is known about party‒issue linkages in election campaigns covered by the mass media, from which most voters get their information about party positions. Against this background, this article explores how two important drivers of issue salience in direct party communication – issue ownership and systemic salience – play out in the media. Based on considerations about the news value of specific party‒issue associations, one would expect both relationships to be particularly important in the media. Despite substantial similarities in party‒issue linkages across platforms, a comparison of manifestos and newspaper content reveals evidence for this claim. In particular, smaller parties are hardly covered in the news on issues they do not own, while large parties are especially covered on salient topics. These findings contribute to our understanding of issue competition in mediated environments.

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