Previous research has documented that political information in the mass media can shape attitudes and behaviors beyond voter choice and election turnout. The current study extends this body of work to examine associations between televised political campaign advertising (one of the most common forms of political communication people encounter) and worry about crime and violence in the context of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We merge two large datasets—Kantar/CMAG data on televised campaign advertisement airings (n = 3,767,477) and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NCS) data on television viewing patterns and public attitudes (n = 26,703 respondents in the United States)—to test associations between estimated exposure to campaign ads about crime and crime worry, controlling for demographics, local crime rates, and political factors. Results from multivariate models show that estimated cumulative exposure to campaign ads about crime is associated with higher levels of crime worry. Exposure to campaign ads about crime increased crime worry among Republicans, but not Democrats.
- media effects
- political advertising
- political communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science