Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Committee Chair

Rhodebeck, Laurie


Voting research; Press and politics--United States--History--21st century; Mass media--Political aspects--United States--History--20th century; Presidents--United States--Election--2000; Presidents--United States--Election--2004


Scholars have long considered the role media play in shaping levels of political knowledge and voting behavior. The specific context of this study is the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. It examines the influence of newspaper reading, television viewing, Internet use and interpersonal communication on levels of candidate issue and background knowledge and likelihood to vote. The results testify to the influence of media in citizens' level of knowledge about presidential candidates. The results also provide a confirmation of the limited impact of Internet campaigning in the 2000 presidential election (Weaver & Drew, 2001) and show increased impact in the 2004 election. In addition, the results confirm the significance of interpersonal discussion to heightening levels of political knowledge (Feldman & Price, 2008; Huckfeldt & Sprague, 1995). Interpersonal communication about the campaign was also a significant factor predicting whether a citizen would vote in both of these presidential election years.