Campaign Mixed-Message Flows and Timing of Vote Decision

Posted: 5 Aug 2009

See all articles by Lilach Nir

Lilach Nir

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

James N. Druckman

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: Autumn 2008

Abstract

The impact of a campaign on voters’ decisions depends, in part, on when voters make their decisions. Voters who decide at the start of a campaign will be much less influenced by the campaign than those who decide at the end. But what explains when voters make their decisions? We address this question by focusing on two key factors: (a) the nature of the campaign information environment - that is, the extent to which it is one-sided or partial to one candidate as opposed to mixed with equally favorable information for both candidates, and (b) individual openness to persuasion - specifically, the extent to which individuals are ambivalent about the candidates. We find that mixed information delays the decisions of voters who are the most ambivalent, above and beyond voters’ demographics, political knowledge, interest, and partisan strength. In short, timing of vote decisions depends on an interaction between the competitive nature of the campaign and individual susceptibility to persuasion.

Suggested Citation

Nir, Lilach and Druckman, James N., Campaign Mixed-Message Flows and Timing of Vote Decision (Autumn 2008). International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Vol. 20, Issue 3, pp. 326-346, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1441084 or http://dx.doi.org/edn035

Lilach Nir

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905
Israel

James N. Druckman

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place (Scott Hall)
Evanston, IL 60201
United States
847-491-7450 (Phone)

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