The National Debt in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 14(1): 105-122, 2014, DOI: 10.1111/asap.12046
31 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2014 Last revised: 15 Jun 2018
Date Written: 2014
We investigate how attitudes and beliefs about the national debt were related to morality, warmth, and competence judgments of the Obama administration and voting intentions the week before the 2012 presidential election. Even after controlling for political ideology, we found that attitudes toward the debt predicted judgments and voting intentions. Additionally, ideology and beliefs about the extent to which increases in the national debt were under the Obama administration’s control moderated the relationship between debt attitudes and judgments, and between debt attitudes and voting intentions. Liberals and conservatives who thought the Obama administration had control over the debt judged the administration as less moral and less competent, and reported weaker intentions to vote for Obama, when they had more negative debt attitudes. Liberals who thought the administration had little control over the debt, however, judged the administration positively and intended to vote for Obama regardless of debt attitudes.
Keywords: national debt, presidential election, Obama, political attitudes, voting intentions
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