The Advent of the Citizen Consumer: Opinion Polls and Electoral Experts on Radio and Television in the Netherlands (1965-1989)
This thesis does not discard opinion polls as an inferior aspect of political communication, but historically studies how the appropriation of electoral research by broadcasters has influenced notions of political representation and democratic legitimisation and has changed Dutch electoral culture between 1965 and 1989. The discovery of electoral research by broadcasters was rooted in the perception of political crisis in the second half of the 1960s: while the NOS aimed at explaining the increasing electoral volatility by interviewing electoral researchers, the conflict oriented journalists of other broadcasters appropriated electoral research to further echo feelings of discontent with the political system. As broadcasters more structurally started to deploy political surveys in the 1970s and 1980s, this fuelled the notion of voters as citizen consumers. All in all, this thesis demonstrates that the mediatisation of electoral research is an important phase in the Dutch scientisation of the political.
Faculteit der Letteren