Need for Orientation and Attribute Agenda-Setting During a U.S. Election Campaign

Lindita Camaj, David H. Weaver


This study analyzes the relationships between need for orientation (NFO), frequency of media exposure, attention to media coverage of the 2008 U.S. presidential election, and second-level agenda-setting effects. Results suggest that NFO was a better predictor of media attention than sheer frequency of media use, and that media attention was a better predictor of second-level agenda-setting effects than media exposure. We did not find that NFO predicted in any significant way opinions regarding candidate attributes during this election. Instead, our study found consistent and moderately strong support for political ideology as a predictor of peoples’ judgments about the most salient attributes of presidential candidates.


Need for orientation, agenda setting, media effects, political communication, presidential election, candidate attributes

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