Can Video Advertisements Change Partisanship? Results from Panel Survey Experiments

43 Pages Posted: 7 May 2021 Last revised: 9 Jul 2021

See all articles by Alexander Coppock

Alexander Coppock

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Donald P. Green

Columbia University

Ethan Porter

George Washington University

Date Written: July 8, 2021

Abstract

UPDATE: Please see updated paper for a description of a differential attrition problem that will require changes to the analysis and further experimentation.


Although partisan orientations are sometimes characterized as the unmoved movers of political evaluations and vote choice, both panel surveys and aggregate time-series indicate that partisan change does occur. To date, however, researchers have seldom attempted to induce a change in partisanship experimentally. Guided by longstanding explanations of how people come to acquire and update their partisan attachments, we worked with media consultants to develop persuasive political advertising designed to win partisan converts. These video ads were deployed in a series of multi-wave survey experiments that tracked panel respondents over time in an effort to gauge the messages' immediate and persistent effects on party identification, as well as their downstream effects on political evaluations and voting preferences. We find that party-focused messaging operates as theoretically expected, especially at high dosages, producing small but demonstrable effects on partisanship with downstream consequences for political preferences. The fact that these effects dissipate over time helps illuminate individual- and aggregate-level patterns of partisan change.

Keywords: partisanship, survey experiments

Suggested Citation

Coppock, Alexander and Green, Donald P. and Porter, Ethan, Can Video Advertisements Change Partisanship? Results from Panel Survey Experiments (July 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3838299 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3838299

Alexander Coppock (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

Donald P. Green

Columbia University ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Ethan Porter

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

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