Political Para-Social Relationship as a Predictor of Voting Preferences in the Israeli 2019 Elections

Yariv Tsfati, Jonathan Cohen, Shira Dvir-Gvirsman, Keren Tsuriel, Israel Waismel-Manor, R. Lance Holbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The idea that the success of media personae in attracting audiences and maintaining their loyalty depends on the creation of a pseudo-friendship, known as para-social relationships, has been a mainstay of mass media research for more than half a century. Expanding the scope of para-social relationship research into the political realm, the notion that political support could be predicted based on the intensity of para-social relationships between voters and political figures was demonstrated in a recent study. The current exploration tests the predictive power of Political Para-Social Relationship (PPSR) in the context of the April and September 2019 Israeli election campaigns. Findings from online panel data (n = 1,061) demonstrate that PPSR toward Netanyahu was a positive predictor of voting for Netanyahu’s Likud party and a negative predictor of voting for opposition leader Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party in both campaigns. The opposite was true for PPSR toward Benny Gantz. The PPSR constructs also predicted shifts in party support from the February to October (post-election) waves of the study, and loyalty toward the parties. In all models, the PPSR constructs were among the strongest predictors of political support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1118-1147
Number of pages30
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Data collection was funded by a grant (2315/18) form the Israel Science Foundation

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • impressions of political candidates
  • media effects
  • public opinion formation
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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