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Political Science


This study is based on data from a three-wave telephone panel survey conducted during the 1998 governor's race in Florida. The evidence suggests that a considerable amount of issue-related learning (having to do with candidate policy stands and group endorsements) took place over the course of the general election campaign, though substantial differences were observed from one issue area to the next. Further analysis indicates that learning was especially likely to occur among voters who (a) were more knowledgeable about political affairs to start with(confirming that the so-called "knowledge gap" may be exacerbated during campaigns); (b)scored high on a measure of advertising negativity (for one candidate, but not the other); and (c)early in the campaign, read their local newspaper less frequently. Consistent with prior research,TV news appears to have done little or nothing to boost issue-based learning among the electorate.


An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1999 Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association.

This paper was also the winner of the American Political Association Award for best paper of state politics.

Original Publication Information

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Political Communication 22(4): 483-503 on 16 August 2006, available online: