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On Message

On Message
Communicating the Campaign

May 1999 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
To what extent are the techniques of campaigning and media management critical to the outcome of modern elections? This book brings together a group of leading scholars to provide a comprehensive analysis of the role and impact of political communications during election campaigns. They set the context of election campaigning in Britain, and the methodology used to understand media effects, review party strategies and resulting media coverage, and draw together evidence of the impact of the 1997 British General Election campaign, analyzing how far television and the press media influenced the public's civic engagement, agenda priorities, and party preferences.
Theories of Political Communications
The Campaign Context
Understanding Media Effects
The Party Strategy
The News Agenda
The Public's Reaction
The Imapact On Civic Engagement
The Impact On the Public's Agenda
The Effects of Television News on Party Preferences
The Effects of Newspapers
The Impact of Political Communications


`The authors provide a most interesting discussion on the developments in political campaigning over the years... This new work develops both the core analysis of political campaigning in its broadest sense and specific British campaigning variables. Having seen most of these authors in action over the years, they can be most satisfied that their work over that time has paid off in such a useful book, which will no doubt form part of any discussion on political campaigning' - The Reformer

`On Message is the most innovative and comprehensive study of the effects of communications on British voting. It is the definitive guide to the new trends in campaign voting and the media' - Dennis Kavanagh, University of Liverpool

`Much has been written about the way parties and politicians run election campaigns, but far less on how voters respond to them. Now, for the first time, On Message lays bare the connections between parties, media and the public. Using original and imaginative research, Pippa Norris and her team have produced that rarity: a book that tells us something genuinely new and important about the nature of Britain's politics' - Peter Kellner, BBC Television

`At last, a genuinely multi-method study of political campaigning. On Message will be a lasting contribution to 'media-effects' research' - Shanto Iyengar, Stanford University

`This crisply-written book about Britain's 1997 General Election Campaign challenges a host of conventional beliefs about the significance of the communication strategies of the political parties, about the limited agenda-setting role of the mass media, and about the impact of the campaign on the political views of British voters. The study benefits from the collective insights of a team of exceptionally experienced researchers. Their sophisticated multi-method research design and apt comparisons capture the dynamic interplay among various political actors and settings with unusual clarity. Given the careful delineation of theoretical bases and judgmental criteria, this study is destined to become a model for excellence in campaign communication research' -

Doris Graber, University of Illinois, Chicago

"On Message integrates the study of parties, voters and media in a clear and original way. It is a notable advance in the analysis of election communications. The title could be a comment on the book itself' - Colin Seymour-Ure, University of Kent

`This is a remarkably ambitious and authoritative study of party strategies, media roles and electoral reactions in Britain's 1997 General Election campaign. The findings are well situated in diverse theories of media effects and the emerging conditions of a post-modern political communication system. The book deserves recognition among the classics of campaign communication research' - Jay Blumler, University of Leeds

`Here researchers focus on the influence of news media on the campaign; the importance of strategic communications and electoral success; and the effect of both on the long term learning, mobilazation and persuasion of voters. In this detailed campaign study, the authors use a combination of research methods: content analysis of news and party messages; public opinion survey analysis, including four-wave panel and cross sectional BES surveys and aggregate poll trends; and an experimental study of telecision news.' - International Journal of Public Opinion Research

Pippa Norris

Pippa Norris is Director of the Democratic Governance group in the United Nations Development Programme in New York and the Maguire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Recent books include Sacred and Secular: Politics and Religion Worldwide (with Ronald Inglehart, 2004), Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior (2004), and Driving Democratization: What Works (2006). Norris, who is a political scientist, has served as an expert consultant for many international bodies including the UN, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, International IDEA, the National Endowment for... More About Author

John Curtice

John Curtice is a Research Consultant at the Scottish Centre for Social Research, Deputy Director of CREST, and Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University. More About Author

David Sanders

Margaret Scammell

Maggie Scammell is a lecturer in media and communications. She was appointed to the LSE in January 1999. Before that she was for five years a lecturer at the School of Politics and Communications at the University of Liverpool, and a Research Fellow at Joan Shorenstein Center for Press/Politics, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She took her PhD at the LSE, investigating the Thatcher government's use of marketing and public relations. More About Author

Holli A Semetko

Holli A. Semetko, PhD is vice provost for international affairs and director of the Office of International Affairs (OIA) and the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning, and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Media and International Affairs at Emory University.... More About Author

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ISBN: 9780761960744

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