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Does media coverage drive public support for UKIP or does public support for UKIP drive media coverage?

Does media coverage drive public support for UKIP or does public support for UKIP drive media coverage?
Does media coverage drive public support for UKIP or does public support for UKIP drive media coverage?
Previous research suggests media attention may cause support for populist right- wing parties, but extant evidence is mostly limited to proportional representation systems in which such an effect would be most likely. At the same time, in the United Kingdom’s first-past-the-post system, an ongoing political and regulatory debate revolves around whether the media give disproportionate coverage to the populist right- wing UK Independence Party (UKIP). We use a mixed-methods research design to investigate the causal dynamics of UKIP support and media coverage as an especially valuable case. Vector autoregression (VAR) using monthly, aggregate time-series data from January 2004 to April 2017 provides new evidence consistent with a model in which media coverage drives party support, but not vice-versa. Additionally, we identify key periods in which stagnating or declining support for UKIP is followed by increases in media coverage and subsequent increases in public support. The findings show that media coverage may drive public support for right-wing populist parties, in a substantively non-trivial fashion irreducible to previous levels of public support, even in a national institutional environment least supportive of such an effect. The findings have implications for political debates in the United Kingdom and potentially other liberal democracies.
media, public opinion, UKIP, time-series, United Kingdom
0007-1234
893-910
Murphy, Justin
cdf28232-2d67-4188-98cf-d81896682bf0
Devine, Daniel
6bfa5a27-1b58-4c61-8eb0-a7a40860a4ae
Murphy, Justin
cdf28232-2d67-4188-98cf-d81896682bf0
Devine, Daniel
6bfa5a27-1b58-4c61-8eb0-a7a40860a4ae

Murphy, Justin and Devine, Daniel (2020) Does media coverage drive public support for UKIP or does public support for UKIP drive media coverage? British Journal of Political Science, 50 (3), 893-910. (doi:10.1017/S0007123418000145).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Previous research suggests media attention may cause support for populist right- wing parties, but extant evidence is mostly limited to proportional representation systems in which such an effect would be most likely. At the same time, in the United Kingdom’s first-past-the-post system, an ongoing political and regulatory debate revolves around whether the media give disproportionate coverage to the populist right- wing UK Independence Party (UKIP). We use a mixed-methods research design to investigate the causal dynamics of UKIP support and media coverage as an especially valuable case. Vector autoregression (VAR) using monthly, aggregate time-series data from January 2004 to April 2017 provides new evidence consistent with a model in which media coverage drives party support, but not vice-versa. Additionally, we identify key periods in which stagnating or declining support for UKIP is followed by increases in media coverage and subsequent increases in public support. The findings show that media coverage may drive public support for right-wing populist parties, in a substantively non-trivial fashion irreducible to previous levels of public support, even in a national institutional environment least supportive of such an effect. The findings have implications for political debates in the United Kingdom and potentially other liberal democracies.

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UKIP-Media-Murphy-Devine-BJPolS - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 5 March 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 July 2018
Published date: July 2020
Keywords: media, public opinion, UKIP, time-series, United Kingdom

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419988
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419988
ISSN: 0007-1234
PURE UUID: aaf2eb15-4622-40e6-94cb-2b0a39df9964

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Date deposited: 25 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 06:23

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Author: Justin Murphy
Author: Daniel Devine

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