17 March 2015

Oil and polls #nlpoli

Two things for Tuesday after a monster snow storm.

Oil:  Brent crude hit a low of $52.50 before rebounding to finish Monday at just below US$55 a barrel.  Newfoundland light, sweet crude trades at Brent prices.

West Texas Intermediate was even lower.  It settled at $43.88 with global production staying high and analysts fearing a glut.

Thus is a reminder of the folly of Conservative policy that ignored historic trends and did nothing to hedge against a rainy day. The people who made the stupid decisions and the people who gave them the crappy advice should be dragged through a public inquiry and account in public for their decisions and advice.

Polls.  The title is enormous: “Media Management in a Small Polity: Political Elites’ Synchronized Calls to Regional Talk Radio and Attempted Manipulation of Public Opinion Polls.” 

This is the latest from Matt Kerby (University of Ottawa) and Alex Marland (Memorial University) on the political management of open line shows and polls.

Little is known about how elected representatives attempt to manipulate public opinion and news media through their participation on regional open line radio or media straw polls. This article examines the systematic attempts by political actors to engage these media in the small polity of Newfoundland, Canada, where politics is characterized by the hyper-local nature of 590-VOCM radio programming.

Our mixed-method study draws from talk radio call-in logs, online straw poll vote results, observation of the production of open line programming, and insights from local media personnel. We draw attention to two clandestine media management techniques. First, we analyze call-ins by elected legislators to talk radio that were timed to coincide with the known field dates of a public opinion polling company. Second, we report that handheld communication devices were used by senior members of the governing party to mobilize legislators and party personnel to repeatedly vote on straw polls on regional media Web sites.

Our findings show that there is a substantial and statistically significant increase in the probability that legislators will call talk radio when pollsters are in the field. Furthermore, we document and explore the manner in which political elites mobilize to engage online media straw polls, and discover that straw poll questions which address political topics attract a disproportionately higher number of “votes” than non-political questions. This micro-level study offers perspective for interpreting macro-level knowledge about political talk radio, horse race/game and strategic media frames, and about political elites’ mobilization and media management tactics.

And if you haven’t picked up a copy yet,  you can find plenty of copies of First among unequals at Chapters in St. John’s.  It’s also available from indigo.ca for less than 20 bucks.