Compassionate Values and Presidential Politics: Mortality Salience, Compassionate Values, and Support for Barack Obama and John Mccain in the 2008 Presidential Election

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 9, pp. 255-268, 2009

14 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2011

See all articles by Kenneth Vail

Kenneth Vail

University of Missouri at Columbia

Jamie Arndt

University of Missouri at Columbia

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Illinois at Chicago

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Date Written: February, 18 2011

Abstract

In line with terror management theory, this research demonstrates that mortality salience motivated increased support for John McCain in the absence of reminders of compassionate values. However, polls had indicated that Barack Obama was generally perceived as the more compassionate of the two candidates. Thus, when compassionate values were made salient, death reminders motivated participants to uphold these values by significantly increasing their support for the more compassionate Barack Obama instead. The implications of these findings for terror management theory, the 2008 presidential election, and political endorsements are discussed.

Keywords: politics, Obama, compassion, terror management, political attitudes, threat, voting preferences

Suggested Citation

Vail, Kenneth and Arndt, Jamie and Motyl, Matt and Pyszczynski, Tom, Compassionate Values and Presidential Politics: Mortality Salience, Compassionate Values, and Support for Barack Obama and John Mccain in the 2008 Presidential Election (February, 18 2011). Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 9, pp. 255-268, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1763545

Kenneth Vail

University of Missouri at Columbia ( email )

MO
United States

Jamie Arndt

University of Missouri at Columbia ( email )

MO
United States

Matt Motyl (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1007 W. Harrison St. (m/c 285)
Psychology Department
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1102 Behavioral Science Building (BSB)
Chicago, IL 60607-7137
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

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