Access by Local Political Candidates to Cable Television

A Report of an Experiment

by Herbert S. Dordick, J. Lyle

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In an experiment carried out during the November 1970 elections in Waianae, Oahu, Hawaii, local political candidates were offered unlimited free time on the area's CATV system. Questionnaires showed that about 28 percent of the subscribers watched one or more of the ten programs presented. Over 60 percent of these reported that the programs influenced their voting. Most of those who knew about the programs watched at least one, though advance promotion was minimal. Thus, the programs probably played a useful role in the electoral process. Most candidates had inadequate experience in the use of television. Opportunities to use CATV — a less expensive form of television — should improve the skills of local candidates. For future local political programming on CATV, this study recommends (1) adequate advance advertising and promotion, and (2) interconnection of cable systems to cover metropolitan or even statewide areas, so candidates can reach larger audiences. (See also R-570, R-587, R-595, R-689, R-783, R-828, R-888, RM-6199, RM-6309.)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.