Voter attitudes towards information sources during local government elections

Jones, Dianne and Feldman, Alison (2006) Voter attitudes towards information sources during local government elections. In: Local Government Association of Queensland Incorporated 110th Annual Conference: Closest to the People, 28-31 Aug 2006, Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, Australia.


The high turnover rate in councillors across Queensland at the 2004 local government elections has been attributed in part to the volatility caused by greater media and public interest in council issues. Of the 744 sitting councillors who stood for re-election, one fifth or 142 lost their seats. New candidates won 393 seats, an increase of 8 per cent in the election of new councillors compared with the 2000 election. What was the media’s role in these outcomes?

Candidates in all levels of government have always tried to reach voters in order to win elections. Many see the media as the way to get voters’ attention. Voters too have used media information about candidates to help them decide their vote. However, a new study – by the University of Southern Queensland – suggests voters across all age groups are using a variety of information sources when deciding for whom to vote at local council elections.

The findings signal a change in voters’ attitudes to mainstream media and alternative sources of information about candidates. This address, presented by USQ Lecturer in Broadcast Journalism, Dianne Jones, and Senior Lecturer in Public Relations, Alison Feldman, examines the ways voters use local media during council election campaigns and voters’ attitudes to information about candidates. In light of LGAQ polling in 2003 which suggested that “provincial cities and towns would see the most active campaigning and possibility of changes”, this paper also canvasses strategies for candidates and/or their advisors who are seeking to mount an effective election campaign in 2008.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Keynote)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: See page 4 of the Proceedings pdf, that shows the rundown for Wednesday, 30 August, 2006, and lists our address to start at 8.45am.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Mass Communication (Up to 31 Mar 2011)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Mass Communication (Up to 31 Mar 2011)
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2015 04:36
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2015 05:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: media, council, local government, voters, election, campaign, Internet, online, Web
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190301 Journalism Studies
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160601 Australian Government and Politics
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200104 Media Studies
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media

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