Prevalence of health priorities during presidential elections communication in France, Spain, and the US Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2020

start page

  • 177

end page

  • 187


  • 3


  • 13


  • Background: Health messages become most pertinent during elections, when citizens are more receptive to political messages. Political communication tools work to create a 'climate of opinion' to influence public sentiment and reporters' perceptions of health political ideologies and priorities. In considering how parties communicate with voters about health, this study aimed to examine the health-related discourse during presidential elections. Method: A content analysis was undertaken, including the political manifestos and the first address to the parliament of the elected candidate in the latest presidential elections of France, Spain, and the US. Results: A total of 266 content units were identified and analyzed. Findings revealed the dominance of the health-related political debate around the following themes: 'costs' (n= 9), 'health systems' (n=59), 'healthcare' (n=59), 'welfare' (n=42), 'preventive care' (n=22), and 'telehealth' (n=21). The French campaign highlighted some current public health challenges, such as 'prevention' and 'health inequalities'. Conclusions: In the three analyzed countries, a narrow dimensional view of health was found in political communication materials, mainly focusing on health costs and healthcare services. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are further discussed.


  • elections; healthcare; voters; opinion; public health; political party; health policy