The influence of political attack advertising on undecided voters: An experimental study of campaign message strategy.
AuthorBullock, David Alan.
Committee ChairKenski, Henry C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examined in an experimental setting the influence of comparative message strategies in political attack advertising messages on voter perceptions of the attacker and of the targeted candidate. Relying on theories of social cognition (Fiske & Taylor, 1991), the study posited that, among voters unfamiliar with either candidate, ambiguous and image-based attack messages would facilitate greater negative attitude shifts toward both candidates than other attack message strategies. Attacks were found to lower perceptions of both targeted and attacking candidates regardless of message strategy. Image-based attacks lowered perceptions of targeted candidates significantly more than issue-based attacks but did not influence perceptions of attackers significantly. Level of ambiguity did not appear to influence voter perception of targeted or attacking candidates.