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Comparing Coverage of First-Order and Second-Order Elections: The Czech Republic and Slovakia

Europe (Central and Eastern)
 
Comparative Politics
 
Elections
 
European Politics
 
Media
 
Presenter
Jan Kovář
Institute of International Relations
Authors
Jan Kovář
Institute of International Relations

Abstract
European Parliament (EP) elections fall within the category of second-order elections: because these types of elections do not lead to the formation of government there is less at stake and, consequently, voters behave differently when casting ballot. However, since the behaviour of voters in elections cannot be perceived in isolation from the behaviours of political parties and media, the question then arises if media (and political parties) also perceive that there is less at stake in second-order elections and hence they behave differently. To this aim, this article content analyses the news media coverage of the 2004 and 2009 EP elections in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (N = 5672) and, at the same time, integrates the second-order election theory with the behaviours of the media. Moreover, the article provides unique comparative evidence of news coverage of national parliamentary (N = 5435) and EP elections in both countries. The findings are discussed in the light of the relevant existing literature.
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