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The Effectiveness of Campaign Messages on Turnout and Vote Choice

  • Author(s): Friedel, Sylvia
  • Advisor(s): Vavreck, Lynn
  • et al.

In this dissertation, I study campaign effects on turnout and vote choice. I analyze different campaign messages and the way they affect voters across various situations. First, through an online survey experiment, I study the impact of campaign messages and ideological cues on voters as they make inferences on candidates. Next, through a field experiment, I test whether microtargeted messages or general messages on the economy have any effect on turnout. Lastly, using online survey data, I examine how cross-pressured voters behave electorally when holding an opposing party's position on social issues. These three studies indicate that different messages do, in fact, matter. Furthermore, voters are not fools--they are reasoning and rational. While partisanship does continue to heavily impact voting decisions, voters do consider issue positions and different voting dimensions (i.e., social, economic, moral). In light of this, campaigns should continue their efforts to persuade and inform the electorate.

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