With fewer opportunities to find out about local politicians, citizens are more likely to turn to national sources like cable news and apply their feelings about national politics to people running for the town council or state legislature, according to research published in the Journal of Communication.
…”The voting behavior was more polarized, less likely to include split ticket voting, if a newspaper had died in the community,” said Johanna Dunaway, a communications professor at Texas A&M University, who conducted the research with colleagues from Colorado State and Louisiana State universities.
Researchers reached that conclusion by comparing voting data from 66 communities where newspapers have closed in the past two decades to 77 areas where local newspapers continue to operate, she said.
…Among the other findings is less voter participation among news-deprived citizens in “off-year” elections where local offices are decided, Abernathy said. Another study suggested a link to increased government spending in communities where “watchdog” journalists have disappeared, she said.
Dunaway said voters in communities without newspapers are more likely to be influenced by national labels — if they like Republicans like President Donald Trump, for example, that approval will probably extend to Republicans lower on the ballot.
Wonder what the impact is on community without local radio is…