Distinct types of conservative attitudes mediate the link between media preference and presidential candidate endorsement

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Do mass media preferences help to shape specific political attitudes and voting preferences? In two studies, participants completed measures of media genre preferences, three distinct dimensions of political attitudes, and political candidate endorsement (Study 2 only). We found that higher liking of Active (e.g., action films, adventure books) and Masculine genres (e.g., sports TV, business books), and higher disliking of Cerebral (e.g., classical music, philosophy books) and Alternative genres (e.g., punk music, horror films) predicted endorsement of a dimension of conservatism that emphasizes libertarian independence. Preference for Communal genres (e.g., family films, soap opera TV) and dislike toward Alternative genres predicted endorsement of a second dimension of conservatism that emphasizes religious traditionalism. Preference for Communal, Active, and Masculine genres, and dislike toward Cerebral genres, predicted a third dimension of conservatism that emphasizes ethnic separateness. Study 2 found that these distinct dimensions of conservatism mediated the links between media preferences and endorsement for political candidates in the 2016 US election. Further analyses provided evidence against an alternative pathway in which media preferences mediate the link between conservatism and candidate endorsement. Taken together, these findings suggest that preference for distinct genres of media encourages distinct types of political attitudes.


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