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AbstractThree factors lead to the hypothesis that agenda-setting should be weaker at the local political level compared to the national level: (1) the more directly observable nature of local political problems, (2) the nature and strength of local interpersonal political communication networks, and (3) the relatively heavier media coverage of national political issues. This hypothesis was supported with data from respondents assigned at random to either local or national issue conditions and from a content analysis of television and newspaper coverage in Toledo, Ohio, of local and national issues. Contrary to the findings of certain previous studies, network television was found to exercise a stronger agenda-setting influence than newspapers at the national level. Newspapers, on the other hand, were the dominant agenda-setter at the local level. The relative agenda-setting influences of television versus newspapers are consistent with other data from this study concerning the relative strengths of the various media as sources of issue information.
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