Cultivation update #1

For those of you who are following my research into the cultivation effect of political advertisting, here's an update (yeah, this is what I've been doing with my time off from work and school for Thanksgiving - i'm quite the party animal).

As originally discussed, there is a notable cultivation effect in many areas affected by television programming, news, and advertising. Is my research showing this effect present with political advertising?

So far ... the answer is "kinda", but not exactly.

Sometimes, research won't confirm a particular point of view or validate a theory (though it is nice if it does). Research findings which show the limitations of theories aren't always a bad thing, and can help lay the foundation for more informed research on a given topic.


What am I asking?
1) As an average, how many hours of television do you watch a day?

Next, rate these questions, on a scale of 1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest.

2) On a scale of 1 to 5, how influential is television advertising in helping you decide who to vote for?

3) On a scale of 1 to 5, how believable do you find positive political TV ads, which are those that make positive statements about the candidate?

4) On a scale of 1 to 5, how believable do you find negative political ads, which are those that make negative statements about a candidate?
What are the results so far?


To a point, believability increases along with daily average viewing time, but it tends to level off, and overall influence and credibility of negative advertising numbers begin to drop off as viewing time increases. This suggests the culivation theory may not perfectly apply to understanding political advertising. Understanding why this is so is certainly a question worth asking, especially if I decide to expand upon this research for my yet-undecided thesis project.

I still have more calls to make, but as the total number of completed calls increases, the daily swing in the running totals shrinks, so I'm pretty confident that the final scores won't change much from where they are now.

While I'm presenting the totals of my ongoing results, I will hold off on offering any analysis or claims about the data I'm gathering until I've completed my calling this weekend. Stay tuned ... and feel free to share any thoughts you may have.


My survey sample is 374 voters (I'm completing 20-25 responses on weeknights and more on Saturdays). This is estimated to give an accurate response with a 5% margin of error for 22,0o0 voters who have voted at least twice in the last four general elections (i.e. - regular, reliable voters).

1 Response to "Cultivation update #1"

  1. Moye 24/11/06 19:28
    Damn. You really need a break friend.

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