The Effect Of Mass Media On Political Behaviour Of The Electorates (A Case Study Of Umuahia)

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Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication


This research project is dedicated to God Almighty the giver of life, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Also to all Mass Communication students.


My acknowledgement goes to God Almighty for seeing me through right from the start to this stage and for the success of the project writing.

My special thanks goes to my able supervisor, Mr. Victor O. Alozie, whom his writing efforts and assistance has greatly helped me in the completion of this project work.

I am most grateful to my parents, Mr./Mrs. Christian Ilo and to my relatives, uncles, aunties etc. for their well-taken advice, financial support, moral and spiritual support throughout this program. may God bless them all.

Finally, to all those who directly or indirectly contributed to the success of this project work, I say a big thank you to you all.


The possibility that the influence of the way mass media present news could be systematic or deliberate and politically based in one direction or the other gave rise to the study. Its broad objective is to determine the effects of mass media on the political behaviour of the electorates as it concerns their knowledge of political issues, turnout in elections, and choice of political candidates. However, the population of study is every adult citizen who resides at Umuahia and are 18years and above.

The researcher adopted survey method, which involves the use of questionnaire and the sampling techniques used were cluster and simple random sampling method. Consequently, it was observed that exposure to mass media makes electorates become aware of political issues and voter’s turnout is significantly affected by media coverage of politics. Meanwhile, it was also observed that the media, to some extent, influence electorate’s choice of candidate. Therefore, the media should give equal publicity to all aspiring political candidates.

Table Of Contents

  • Title page i
  • Certification page ii
  • Dedication iii
  • Acknowledgement iv
  • Abstract v
  • Table contents vi

Chapter One

  • 1.0 Introduction 1
  • 1.1 Background of the study 1
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem 5
  • 1.3 Objective of the study 6
  • 1.4 Research questions 7
  • 1.5 Significance of the study 7
  • 1.7 Delimitation of the study 8
  • 1.8 Limitation of the study 8
  • 1.9 Definition of terms 8

Chapter Two

  • Literature Review
  • 2.0 Introduction 10
  • 2.1 The mass media and politics 11
  • 2.2 Mass media impact on politics 18
  • 2.3 Political behaviour 25
  • 2.4 Review of studies 28
  • 2.5 Theoretical framework 31

Chapter Three

  • 3.0 Introduction 35
  • 3.1 The research design 35
  • 3.2 Population of study 36
  • 3.3 Sample size 36
  • 3.4 Sampling method and procedure 36
  • 3.5 Instrument for data collection 37
  • 3.6 Validity and reliability of the measuring instrument 38
  • 3.7 Method of data analysis 38

Chapter Four

  • 4.0 Introduction 39
  • 4.1 Data presentation and interpretation 39
  • 4.2 Data analysis 50
  • 4.3 Discussion of findings 55

Chapter Five

  • 5.0 Introduction 58
  • 5.1 Summary 58
  • 5.2 Conclusion 60
  • 5.3 Recommendations 60
  • References 62
  • Appendix 66
  • Questionnaires 67

Chapter One:Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Communication is sharing of information, ideas and thoughts. It is vital part of life. The different methods that enable us to communicate are called media. A post card to a friend, telephone call and computer disk are all types of media.

When media are used to communicate to thousands of people at the same time, such as television, newspaper, radio and advertising billboard, they are known as mass media (Clifford, 1999:8).

The media have become very important communication tool in politics. Karen O’Connor (1995:215) states that the press and other forms of media play a valuable role in any democracy, adding that their political importance cannot be dismissed. The primary mass media for communicating political information remain television, radio and newspaper, Norton (1984:329).

It is with these three media that this study is concerned with. In Lagos Nigeria, the last four months of 2006 featured a steaming broadcast of political oriented programmes by local stations. While channels T.V presented, regularly, a live interview programme with prominent political figures, silver bird group in collaboration with Ray Power FM conducted the first Nigerian political media polls that featured ten most popular possible Presidential candidates for the 2007 general elections.

The candidate were Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim babangida, Sam Egwu, El-Rafai, Atiku Abubakar and Dora Akungili, others are Donald Duke, Pat Utomi, Peter Odili and Orji Uzor Kalu. It is true that none of these candidates is emerged as the president after the election, but those of them that succeeded in their party primaries made a remarkable attempt. Donald Duke, Peter Odili, Ibrahim Babanginda and Sam Egwu lost to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who won the presidential election with 24,638,063 votes, in the PDP party primaries. At the time of this media poll, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has not made any public declaration, even in the media of his intentions to run for the presidency.

However, Muhammadu Buhari under the ANPP platform came second with 6,605,299 votes. Atiku Abubakar took the third position with 2,637,848 votes under the Action Congress (AC) platform. And the Progress People’s Alliance (PPA) flag bearer, Orji Uzor Kalu took the fourth position with 608,803 votes. Dora Akunjili denied having shown interest to run for the election during the media pool while El-Rufia never took part in any party primary election.
Surprisingly, most of these political parties whose candidates participated in the media poll won gubernatorial seats in the 31 states of the federation (FCT excluded).

Richard Remy (1995:576) states that the Mass Media do not only inform the public about world national and local event. They are also influential in shaping opinion about these events and people involved in them. Stressing on mass media relevance in politics, Lynne et al (1995:217) states, emphatically, that a politician who shuns the T.V camera shuns a major source of exposure to his or her constituency. A theory has it that the mass media offers the audience issues to talk and think about. This theory which is referred to as Agenda Setting Theory added that the media shape our understanding of what is important and what is not important to know. This stems from the fact that the mass media is an integral part of society.

The media and the impact of individual election issues are among the short term factors that affect political and voting behavior, (Wikipedia). Political behavior is the general attitude of people towards politics, which is expressed in political participation, voting behavior and political views of the electorates.

The study is focused on the electorates, they care portion of voting age public that votes (Remy, 1995:526). In Nigeria, one must be 18years of age to become an electorate. The study is an attempt to measure the effects of mass media on the electorates political behavior as it concerns their political participation, choice of candidate and turnout in elections.

1.2 Statement Of Problem

The media have become the most important communication tool for political campaign. There are several reasons for this; first, a broadcast message can reach thousands of audience instantly in their homes. Secondly, studies have shown that people have stronger belief in what they hear or see themselves.

Some other reasons could be based on the extreme importance of the image or mental picture that voters have of a candidate. The candidate who is perceived as more credible, as presented by the media, may not only have a decided advantage on the Election Day but could also spur indifferent persons into active political participation. The media are not simple observers of the world political scene. They are also active participants in various ways both deliberately and inadvertently. The media often make the news instead of reporting it.

Every newspaper and most television stations and networks make some attempts to influence public opinion. Newspaper do this explicitly through editorials and opinion pieces and indirectly through the choice and depth of news coverage television stations achieve the same result through occasional talk shows, news broadcast and documentaries (Laser 1999:328). There is no question that the way the media present the news has tremendous impact on the public. The real questions are whether this influence is systematic and deliberate, and whether it is politically biased in one direction or the other.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The broad objective of the study is to determine the effect of mass media on the political behavior of Nigeria electorates who reside at Umuahia. Specially, the study will:

  1. Determine if media coverage of political campaign increases voter’s turnout.
  2. Ascertain if the electorates become aware of political issues owing to their exposure to political broadcast and publications.
  3. Find out whether electorate’s attitude to voting is influenced by media coverage of politics.
  4. And finally, if the mass media influence electorate choice of candidates.

1.4 Research Questions

Based on the objectives of the study, the following research questions were drawn to act as guide.

  1. Does media coverage of politics influence electorate’s choice of candidate and attitude of voting?
  2. Does exposure to political influence electorate’s choice?
  3. Is the increase or decrease of voter’s turnout dependent on the mass media coverage of politics and political campaign?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The study effect of mass media on the political behaviour of the electorate could help guide government, electoral institutions, politicians and the electorate to effectively utilize the institution of mass media towards successful elections and political transition. It would also be useful to students and corporate bodies that intend carrying out a research work in the same area.

1.6 Delimitation Of The Study

The scope of this research is limited to Umuahia, the capital city of Abia State. Umuahia comprises two local government areas, namely:Umuahia North and Umuahia South. The study was concentrated on the headquarters of these local governments. They are Ubakala for Umuahia South and Ibeku for Umuahia North. This is because a greater percentage of the city’s population resides at the headquarters.

1.7 Limitations Of The Study

Limited resources and time constituted constraints to the research work. The researcher do not have adequate fund at his disposal for logistics, research materials and literature during the time of the research. However, the work was carried out successfully.

1.8 Definition Of Terms


The way somebody acts in a particular situation.


To send out programmes on television or radio to large and heterogeneous audience.


The people in a country or in an area who have the right to vote.


The process of choosing a person or group of persons for a position, especially a political position, through voting.

Mass Media:

The main ways large people receive information, education and entertainment. Example, television, radio and newspaper.

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How to nail it on the head during your project defence

You are through with writing that project. Now what?

You have found yourself at that point where you have to defend what you have written. Of course you have to stand in front of your supervisor and other literary personalities to prove that you know what you wrote in your project paper. Unfortunately, the more you think about it, the more it looks like you are about to face a legion. It is not a war. But the emotion of dread welling up inside of you makes it look like one. So now you are asking yourself questions.

  • How am I going to start?
  • I hope I will do well enough to get an A.

You really want to nail it, but you need to come to terms with exactly how to get everything in perfect control. Especially your emotions of fear that seem to make a wreck of you every time you think about public speaking.
So here is the deal. I want to help you avoid that feeling that would ruin your precious moment if you dare to let it. And we are going to do it together.

I am going to highlight some very important tips to help you get in control for you to be comfortable enough to move from that feeling of DREAD to CONFIDENT; and making an awesome Impression for that great rating your supervisors should be giving to you so freely.

Consider these tips as you prepare for your defence. We will be taking them one after the other so here we go.

Watch Your Body Language And Keep It Confident:

Can you tell that a person is falling apart if they look confident? … If I can second guess you rightly, am sure you answered no to that question. Remind yourself that you need to come out that way. Now this might seem like a huge big deal when you are dealing with the foreboding. Maintaining a poise of confidence is very important. So find your most comfortable position, sitting or standing and draw up your body. You must exude confidence. It is something you need to do for yourself. People can only see what you allow your body language to show. So you must endeavour to put that out. Remember the story of David and Goliath? … At the end of your defence day, you want to be David.

Dress In Your Most Comfortable And Impressive:

Am sure this one is a no brainer. However I must highlight that you choose comfortable pieces. You don’t want to look so good and yet look like you were forced to wear something that does not belong to you. It’s great to ensure that as impressive as your clothes are on you, that they are also very comfortable.

Speak With Authority:

Going hand to hand with that aura of confidence is your most powerful asset:your words. If you look that confident, your words must not come out like whimpers. To be able to pull this off, you definitely need to speak as deliberately as possible in expressing yourself. Let them also hear what they see.

Use, Your Gestures:

I have often found this to come to my rescue in dealing with shyness and conveying my confidence. Usually it gives you an edge to also drive home your point. You must, however, ensure that you do not over use it. It doesn’t mean that your hands should be flying all over the place. That would be absolutely unnecessary. If you do this well, after a while you will realize that you are not as self-conscious as you used to be at the very start. For most situations, it would have completely disappeared altogether; leaving a really confident you talking.

Have A Good Opening And Closing Line:

Make sure you have perfected a good opening line. You should also be armed with a good closing line too. Try and rehearse it to a friend. If for the first time you presented it, your friend does not say “wow, that’s beautiful” or something like that; just know you need to keep refining it until you get the perfect line. Both opening and closing lines will go a long way in how impressed your panel gets to rate you high.

Make Sure You Know Your Work:

Certainly you should understand how important it is to know your own work from start to finish. Not having in-depth knowledge of your own work is tantamount to a suicide mission. Why should you kill yourself?
When all is said and done, this is what you came to defend in the first place. You should know your work from A to Z.

Prepare For The Questions:

Now this part is truly essential. You must be sure you do not floor all the good work you did on your presentation by not answering correctly. You must pay attention to the questions you are asked to be sure you will give the right answer. Many people get it wrong at this stage and spoil their good presentation. When you do not understand any question do endeavour to ask the person to expatiate what they mean before you answer.

These tips are by no means exhaustive, but applying these tips will give you some necessary advantage you need for a great outcome. Of course that outcome would mean that you eventually earn all your points on this project.



Samuel Obiora Blessed is the CEO and founder of a.k.a Nigeria Students Media, the youngest engineering graduate of Federal Polytechnic Nekede in 2017 and the engine brain behind this great platform. He is the man behind the scene, filled with many potentials. A musician as well as a developer with the interest of Nigeria students at heart. If you need a professional website, contact him via WhatsApp or phone call @ 08143831497 to get the best.

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