American Government and Politics

Campaign Issue Appeals: Activation and Persuasion in U.S. Presidential Elections



This study challenges the claim that polarization in the United States has diminished the importance of issue voting by putting forward the communication of candidates on issues as a mechanism for campaign effects. To do so, it uses a combination of survey and Twitter data on the issue statements made by candidates during the 2012 and 2016 presidential electoral campaigns. The findings show that voters respond to policy information that is congruent with their preferences from both the congenial candidate and the candidate they are predisposed against. While these effects are small in the aggregate, they can determine elections.


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