Mass media and political support in Conroe, Texas

Date

1975-08-01

Authors

Walker, Sharon Nicholos.

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Abstract

Purposes: The major purpose of this thesis was to determine the association between the mass media and one's level of support for the political system. At the same time, the investigation was restricted to white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants in order to determine if attitudes within the major group of the American populous varied according to church membership. Therefore, the objectives of this thesis in the form of a case study were as follows: (1) to determine and compare the characteristics of the six Protestant groups; (2) to determine and compare the usage of the mass media; (3) to determine the appropriateness of the measures of political support; and (4) to relate the mass media usage to the level of support for the political system. Methods: The method used to obtain the characteristics, mass media usage, and political support was a survey questionnaire. The questionnaires were individually administered to 210 residents of Conroe by means of a stratified sampling of six Protestant church membership rosters. Persons trained to help administer the questionnaires interviewed in pairs during the publication of the Pentagon Papers and the broadcasting of the Senate Watergate Hearings. Frequency distribution, chi-square significance tests, and gamma scores were the statistical techniques applied to the data. Findings: 1. There was no distinction with regard to the volume of media usage according to sex, age, income, religious affiliation, or education. There was no association or significance found between the volume of media exposure and one's level of support for the political system. 2. Two factors, income level and age, were found to be associated and significant in regards to one's level of support for the political system. These were the only factors in this study that established a relationship with three or more of the attitudinal questions. 3. Women, the lower income groups, and the lower education group show a preference for broadcast media in obtaining information. Men, the higher income groups, and the higher education group prefer the print media for their information source. 4. The interviewees felt that the Senate Watergate hearings should be broadcast while the Pentagon Papers should not have been published.

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Keywords

Mass media--Political aspects--Texas--Conroe.

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