Still going strong? The role of traditional media in the 2021 Dutch parliamentary elections

Susan Vermeer, Annelien Van Remoortere, Rens Vliegenthart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Previous research has demonstrated that both visibility of parties, party leaders, candidates, and topics, and the sentiment of this coverage can affect people’s decision in the ballot box. Most of this research was, however, done in the period before social media gained importance which has drastically changed the media consumption of citizens. The main aim of this paper is to investigate whether, and if so to what extent, traditional media use during the 2021 Dutch parliamentary elections has (still) affected vote choice in this era of social media. To study this, two-wave panel survey data from the Dutch Parliamentary Election Survey (DPES) are combined with an automated content analysis of newspaper articles (N = 35,511). We created respondent-specific content variables to conduct a linkage analysis. Our analysis, relying on a pooled analysis of respondent–party combinations (N = 54,162), demonstrates that political parties profit electorally from being visible in both newspapers and online outlets. This is in particular true for parties that are not part of parliament yet, thus increasing the further fragmentation and division in Dutch politics. Contrary to the expectations, sentiment in online media has a negative effect, with negative coverage increasing electoral support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Politica
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2022


  • Automated content analysis
  • Dutch parliamentary elections
  • Linkage analysis
  • News media


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