Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jacqueline Schmidt


This study examines the introduction of candidates in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election by examining 1,666 online articles in 3 cable news and 3 online newspapers covering the day before their announcement, the day of announcement, and the day following the announcement. The amount of coverage and tone of the articles was examined to determine the effects of agenda setting, media polarization, and first impressions. Results found variation in the amount of coverage given to candidates; online newspapers generally gave more coverage than online cable news; media polarization occurred slightly in favorable coverage of candidates but all candidates received more favorable than unfavorable articles; and there was no direct connection between media coverage and the candidate’s position in the polls after the first week. Overall, the first impressions of a candidate at their time of announcing candidacy had little effect on the eventual outcome of the 2016 election.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.