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Political Scientist To Conduct Study On Impact of Media and Billboard Advertising On Election Outcome

Published:Wednesday | February 17, 2016 | 2:00 AMAndre Poyser
Lloyd Waller, head of the Department of Government, University of the West Indies.

When the dust of the election clears on February 25, there will be many questions about the factors which would have influenced the outcome.

Of great interest to political scientist, Dr Lloyd Waller is the impact that media and billboard advertising will play in influencing how people vote.

To this end, he will be conducting a study to investigate whether or not political advertising and media had an influence on the outcome of the election. He told The Gleaner that he would begin field work for the study once the election ends.

"I will be looking at different aspects of the media campaign, the type of media that is used and I am interested in doing some focus groups on that," he said.

Waller, who is head of the department of Government at the University of the West Indies, pointed out that the dynamics of culture and demographics dictates the influence of media and is an area that requires study in Jamaica.

When asked how much of the election will hang on the media and advertising campaigns executed by the political parties, he said, "a lot of that will have to be tested, internationally, there have been evidence that depending on the culture and the age of the population, media plays an important role in influencing how people act."

"What you hear on radio, what you see on TV is very important and generally speaking it plays a role in socialising and desocialising people," he said.

According to Waller, statistics from the last election held in 2011 indicate that quite a number of persons who were undecided were inspired to go out and vote. He surmised that this motivation to vote could have been driven by media influences.

"I will be doing the study after the election because we have a lot of data playing on right now to ask persons to what extent campaigning played an important role in the decision that they made on election day."

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com