Television Markets and the Competitiveness of U.S. House Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:313-25

We argue that the competitiveness of House challengers is in part a function of the district in which they run and its geographic relationship to media markets. When the television market is well matched to the district, incumbents enjoy less of an advantage over challengers in making contact with the voters. In contrast, when the size of the television market is fragmented across more than one market, incumbents enjoy a bigger edge over challengers in getting out their name and message. This in turn affects the likelihood of a challenger defeating an incumbent. We find support for the idea that challengers who run in districts that are better matched with television media markets are more competitive than are challengers running in fragmented districts. But we find, too, that incumbents also benefit from representing districts with congruent media markets, which mitigates some of the benefits gained by challengers.

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