Skip to main content


Citizens, Candidates, and the Media in a Presidential Campaign


Citizens, Candidates, and the Media in a Presidential Campaign

The most comprehensive portrait of a presidential campaign in more than a decade, Crosstalk focuses on the 1992 U.S. presidential race and looks at how citizens use information in the media to make their voting decisions and how politicians and the media interact to shape that information.

Examining political advertisements, news coverage, ad watches, and talk shows in Los Angeles, Boston, Winston-Salem, and Fargo/Moorhead, the authors chart the impact of different information environments on citizens and show how people developed images of candidates over the course of the campaign. Crosstalk presents persuasive evidence that campaigns do matter, that citizens are active participants in the campaign process, and their perceptions of a candidate’s character is the central factor in the voting process.

This innovative study contributes significantly to our understanding of the 1992 presidential campaign and of campaigns in general, and shows how election campaigns can play an important role in the long-term vitality of democracy.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Pt. 1: Studying Campaign Discourse
1: Constructing the Campaign
2: The Design of the Study
Pt. 2: Citizen, Candidate, and Media Messages
3: The Citizens’ Agenda
4: Candidate Advertising
5: Media Coverage
6: Shared Constructions: Ad Watches and Candidate Interviews
Pt. 3: Interpreting Messages and Voting
7: How Citizens Interpret Campaign Communication
8: Media Use and Candidate Assessments
9: The Logic of Considerations and the Vote
Pt. 4: A Constructionist Model of Voting
10: Discourse and Decision
Author Index
General Index


American Political Science Association: Doris Graber Outstanding Book Award

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press