Date of Completion


Thesis Advisor(s)

Maureen Croteau

Honors Major



Do newspapers tend to mirror the political preferences of their primary readership? In other words, do they actually matter? Do they matter only if they mirror public opinion? What if they lead public opinion? Why do some newspaper endorsements change over time? Why are a growing number of newspapers discontinuing presidential endorsements – will they soon be a thing of the past? This paper aims to answer those questions and more.

A few trends stand out, three in particular.

1) The long history of newspapers endorsing presidential candidates may be coming to an end. In recent years many have discontinued the practice, a trend likely to continue.

2) The influence of endorsements is debatable. As often as not, newspapers don’t back the candidate that eventually wins in their area.

3) Since the 1970s, the so-called liberal print media have actually endorsed more Republicans than Democrats for presidents. However, evidence shows that recent endorsements have clearly trended more Democratic.