Videostyle in Presidential Campaigns: Style and Content of Televised Political Advertising

By Lynda Lee Kaid; Anne Johnston | Go to book overview

of camera shot used. Finally, the ads were also coded for the presence of a list of specific special effects (see Appendix).


Coding Procedures

The 1,204 ads were coded by trained graduate student coders. Training sessions explained the categories, applied them to political spots from other elections, and supervised practice coding sessions. At the conclusion of training sessions, intercoder reliability was determined on a set of sample ads (10%) drawn from the universe of ads used in the study. The intercoder reliability across all categories averaged +.86. 5 In succeeding chapters, we provide the results of this analysis of videostyle in presidential campaigns. In addition to overall trends in videostyle across time, we also provide particular analysis of videostyle in relation to negative campaigning, to political candidate position (incumbent versus challenger and political party representation), and to potential for ethical manipulation. We also provide a comparison of the videostyle of U.S. presidential candidates with that of their counterparts in other democracies around the world, and we discuss how the news media report about political campaign advertisements.


NOTES
1.
This rule meant, for instance, that the 1988 ad called the "Revolving Door" was included as a George Bush campaign ad, but that the "Willie Horton" ad sponsored by a third-party group was not. Likewise, spots advocating election of a particular candidate but sponsored by the AFL-CIO or the National Rifle Association (NRA) were excluded.
2.
The Political Commercial Archive at the University of Oklahoma does not have data on the airtime given to particular spots. In the case of early campaigns, it is sometimes not possible to determine whether a spot actually aired or was only produced by the candidate.
3.
Until the last few presidential campaigns, many presidential candidates concentrated their media time-buying on national networks. However, over the past few campaign cycles the expansion of cable and satellite television and a deliberate strategy of making regional time-buys have changed the landscape for presidential television spot buying.
4.
Issues can incorporate general candidate (or opponent) issue concerns, as well as specific policy preferences or proposals. On the other hand, ads that focus on images generally stress the candidate's (or opponent's) personal qualities, background, qualifications, traits, and the like.
5.
In order to calculate intercoder reliability, we used the formula suggested by Holsti ( North, Holsti, Zaninovich, & Zinnes, 1963). It is given for two coders and can be modified for any number of coders.

-37-

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