Discussion, Dialogue, Discourse| Quality of Understanding in Campaign Communication of Political Parties and Mass Media in Austria Between 1970 and 2008
Following the notion of deliberative democracy, political decisions are legitimized when they are based on debate that permits the circulation of information, stances, arguments, and ideas to create mutual understanding. We investigate to what extent political parties and the mass media in political campaign communication follow qualitative principles demanded by the public sphere concept. We introduce and test the index of a quality of understanding (IQU). We define four indicators for deliberation quality: statement of reasons, proposals for solutions, respect, and doubts. In the empirical part, we examine political parties’ press releases and newspaper coverage of the Austrian national elections in 1970, 1983, 1999, and 2008.