The Power of the Media on Forming Public Opinion: The Analysis of the 2010 Constitutional Referendum in Turkey
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
This thesis explores the role of the media in voting behaviour in Turkey in terms of the 2010 constitutional referendum. The media is a very important tool for both providing information and entertainment for people in Turkey. Thus, it can be claimed that the media are very powerful and have a large influence on audiences. In this study, I seek to explore the media’s power over citizens’ political choices. In other words, this thesis aims to reveal the affect the media content has on voters. To achieve this goal, I have chosen to analyse the 2010 referendum because of its special characteristics, which differentiate it from other referendums and elections in Turkey. Although there are many studies which examine the media effects on voting in the literature, these generally concentrate on developed democracies. Furthermore, general elections and presidential elections are more common in the field. The number of studies searching for the media’s effect on referendum voting in Turkey is very limited. For this reason, I prioritise referendums and the media systems to provide a better understanding of the Turkish case, as a developing democratic country. In addition to this, media content and public opinion constitute the main data for the methodological part of the study. In order to identify the influence of the media in the 2010 referendum, I employ a three-step method including firstly, an analysis of the public opinion survey data to understand voter preferences; secondly, media content analysis to see the media coverage on the referendum issue and the salience of the referendum in the media and; as the third and final step of the analysis, I link the public opinion data and the media content. My contribution to the field is the analysis of the media effects on referendum voting with a systematic and an extensive methodological approach, which is supported by the analysis of the media system in Turkey, as an example of developing country. I expect to contribute a comprehensive analysis of the referendum voting in respect of the media nested with the voter preferences to the literature on politics in Turkey.
Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Turkey
PhD in Politics