The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Distance in Advertising: How Candidates Use Issues to Influence Voter Perceptions and Candidate Choice

John Henderson, Yale University

Wed, March 9, 2016 | BAT 5.108

4:00 PM

John Henderson

Yale University
http://www.jahenderson.com

Distance in Advertising: How Candidates Use Issues to Influence Voter Perceptions and Candidate Choice

How do congressional candidates present themselves to voters in their campaign advertising, and what effect do these images have on voter information and behavior? Through a series of survey experiments, and an original dataset of 12,692 ads data aired between 1968 to 2008, I analyze the ideological and issue information presented to voters, and the impact this information has on their choices. I find that candidates consistently present themselves as moderates, while attacking their opponents as extremists, in order to distance themselves from increasingly polarized records in Congress. This "issue distancing" in advertising appears to have meaningful effects on the way voters perceive candidates' records, highlighting an important campaign source for the continued electoral success of out-of-step politicians.

Bookmark and Share


  •   Map
  • Department of Government

    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704
    512-471-5121