Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 1 > Issue 4

The Orientation of Newspaper Endorsements in U.S. Elections, 1940–2002

  • Stephen Ansolabehere 1
  • Rebecca Lessem 2
  • James M. Snyder 3

[1]Stephen Ansolabehere, Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology [2]Rebecca Lessem, Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology [3]James M. Snyder, Department of Political Science and Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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Table of contents

Increasing Endorsement Activity
Party Vs. Incumbency
The Changing Political Orientation of Newspaper Endorsements

Quarterly Journal of Political Science

(Vol 1, Issue 4, 2006, pp 393-404)

[Research note]

DOI: 10.1561/100.00000009


We study newspaper endorsements in state and federal elections, using a new data set with two samples. One sample focuses on big-city newspapers in the United States from 1940 to 2002. A second sample examines 92 newspapers, representing all regions of the country, over the period 1986 to 2002. We document two important features of newspaper endorsements. First, newspapers have shifted from strongly favoring Republicans in the 1940s and 1950s, to dividing their editorial endorsements roughly equally between the parties. Today, Democratic candidates are about 10% more likely to receive an endorsement than Republican candidates. Second, newspaper editorials have come to favor heavily those already in office. Incumbents today receive the endorsement about 90% of the time. In the 1940s, incumbents received endorsements only about 60% of the time.

Data Files

Replication Data | 100.00000009_supp.zip (ZIP),

This file contains the data that is required to replicate the data on your own system.

DOI: 10.1561/100.00000009_supp