Strategy Framing in News Coverage and Electoral Success: An Analysis of Topic Model Networks Approach
Past studies examined the prevalence of strategy framing in news coverage and its effects on cynicism, knowledge, and content evaluation. Missing from the literature is an examination of the relationship between strategy framing in news and electoral success, the actual goal of political campaigns. Similarly, factors that shape media use of strategy framing on the candidate and race levels were rarely examined. We argue that these gaps in knowledge are due to taxing coding procedures required for systematic estimation of strategy framing in large corpora. We use a recently developed unsupervised computational method (ANTMN) to automatically code the news coverage of 312 U.S. Senate candidates in 156 races between 2008 and 2016 in a corpus of 181,725 articles. We found that strategy framing is negatively associated with electoral success. Strategy-oriented news coverage is associated with the competitiveness of the race; candidates’ experience; and for Democratic candidates only, the conservativeness of the state.