Date of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Chattopadhyay, Sumana

Second Advisor

Slattery, Karen

Third Advisor

D'Urso, Scott

Abstract

This study applied Issue Ownership theory to Democratic and Republican candidate ads on YouTube. Ads from the presidential primary campaign May 2007 - February 5, 2008 (Super Tuesday) were content analyzed. The findings were consistent with the predictions of Issue Ownership theory: Candidates emphasize their own party issues more than opposition party issues. The top five issue themes talked about by Democratic candidates are: Healthcare (Democratic Issue), Economy (Performance Issue), Social class and group relationships (Democratic Issue), Foreign affairs (Performance Issue), Government functioning (Performance Issue), Taxes (Republican Issue) and Energy problem, Fuel Shortages, and Energy policies (Democratic Issue). The top five issues that were covered by the Republican candidates however are: Foreign affairs (Performance Issue), Taxes (Republican issue), Moral values (Republican issue), Big government (Republican Issue) and the Economy (Performance Issue).

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