Religion, Media and Elections: How Communication Channels’ Affect Voters Belonging to Different Religions in Punjab, Pakistan?
This objective of this paper is to investigates into the impact of religion, media and interpersonal communication on voters as well as to study the association between media and religious vote banks in Punjab, Pakistan. The research method was survey (n=1704) and the data was collected with the help of multi-stage cluster sample technique from 18 districts (urban and rural population) of the province. The factor analysis was applied to condense the data while logistic regression technique was used to get the study results on scientific basis. The results revealed that media dependence of religious vote bank was 12.2 per cent in General Elections 2008 while in General Elections 2013 this increased to 13 per cent. While religion-based voting was slightly increased from 4.6% (GE 2008) to 4.9% (GE 2013). So it seems, in Pakistan there is no drastic change in voting behavior due religious pressures and that is also supported by this study results showing an insignificant association between voting attitude and religion (χ2 (4) = 4.140, p > .05). Also, this study observed that interpersonal communication played a significant role to influence Muslims choices (B=.673, p<.0005) while the electronic media affected Christian vote bank significantly and positively (B=3.008, p<.05) while there was negative association between Christian voters and the print media (B=-2.171, p<.05). There was no significant effect of media and interpersonal communication on voters of other religions including Sikhs, Hindus and others.
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