Raquel Rodríguez-Díaz e-mail(Login required) , Maxwell McCombs e-mail(Login required)

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Raquel Rodríguez-Díaz e-mail(Login required)
Maxwell McCombs e-mail(Login required)



This paper focuses on the concept of the impact area as the intersection between the common issues of the personal agenda and the public agenda. Expanding the concept of agenda-setting effects, which focuses mainly on the relation between the public and media agendas, we have examined the congruity of the public agenda and the personal agenda as a contingent condition for the strength of these effects. The concept also distinguishes between the top-priority issues of the public and personal agendas, setting out that the general public’s search for information about these top-priority issues highlights the need for orientation. We used data from Spain to focus on the national elections (2011, 2015 and 2019), plus the beginning of the pandemic (2020). The study includes a content analysis of the El País daily newspaper for the four periods and a variety of surveys and representative electoral barometers. To those data we have added an analysis of the main search topics on Google Trends for each of the four years. The results reveal that variations in the relationship between the public and personal agendas are linked to the strength of the agenda-setting effect between the media and public agendas.


agenda setting, elections, public opinion, Covid, pandemic, Google Trends


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