Combining three telephone surveys during the 2006 Israeli elections and a content analysis of leading Israeli newspapers, this study extended the function of attribute agenda setting and priming. Analysis documented that throughout the course of a campaign, public opinion fluctuates in tandem with the saliency of candidate attributes emphasized in the news. We also found an important consequence of attribute agenda setting, affective priming of candidate attributes, by which the prominent tone of the media's candidate attributes functions as a criterion for evaluating a candidate's suitability. Finally, this public evaluative tone was linked with voting intentions for the candidate's political party.
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This article was first submitted to IJPOR January 23, 2009. The final version was received January 20, 2010. This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation.