Elite Cues, News Coverage, and Partisan Support for Compromise

Bryan McLaughlin, Douglas M. McLeod, Catasha Davis, Mallory Perryman, Kwansik Mun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In accordance with self-categorization theory, this study predicts that because elite cues affect partisans' perceptions of group norms, news coverage of political gridlock should influence partisans' willingness to endorse compromise. Results of two experimental studies, where Republican and Democratic samples read a news story in which group leaders were either willing or unwilling to compromise, largely support our expectations. However, we also find evidence that willingness to compromise can depend on the specific issue context, as well as pre-existing attitudes. These results further our understanding of how media coverage affects the functioning of democracy in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-882
Number of pages21
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • elite cues
  • group norms
  • news coverage
  • political compromise
  • political polarization
  • self-categorization theory


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