We always wonder if media actually has a significant effect upon our behavior. Well, the Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) has provided research that proves this to be true in political elections.
Earlier this year, Alberta held their provincial elections, receiving 1,290,395 votes to place an individual in office. For those of you in Alberta, we all know that this person is Alison Redford, the leader of the PC Party and now the Premiere of Alberta. But how exactly did watching the media influence her position she holds today? Let’s take a look…
To get to this, we must first look at the study the FDA performed. The FDA had collected information for the 14 day period prior to, and including, Election Day in Alberta for all 9 parties running. What the FDA found was that the number of articles promoting each party matched up exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) to the results of the election. In fact, with the exception of the PC Party itself, the FDA was within 6% of the actual votes for each party and, on average, was within 3% of the total votes received for each of the 9 parties running. The importance of this study is two-fold: it represents the significance that media plays upon the voters of a particular location and also shows that the amount of media coverage a party receives is directly correlated to the number of votes that party will receive. The study used a sample of 2,747 articles from the two-week period. For more information on these results and the comparisons, visit http://democracychange.org/2012/05/media-study-of-the-2012-alberta-elections/ or email Dale.Monette@DemocracyChange.org.
What makes this study even more alarming is the fact that Alberta received a score of 45% in the FDA’s Electoral Fairness Audit (EFA) earlier in 2012. This score means that 55% of Alberta’s media laws are unsatisfactory. In particular, the EFA found electoral unfairness in the following areas: no requirement for impartial and balanced political coverage before and during the campaign period, and no media ownership concentration laws or equivalent. Therefore, these two studies show that there is an immediate need for reform in the democratic system in Alberta surrounding media laws. To view the Alberta EFA, please visit http://democracychange.org/2012/07/2012-fda-electoral-fairness-audit-of-alberta/.
If you want things to change where you vote, please visit www.DemocracyChange.org and donate today.
FDA Director of Finance