Values-based Political Messages and Persuasion: Relationships among Speaker, Recipient, and Evoked Values

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Abstract

The persuasive power of values-based political messages may depend on recipients having (1) shared values with the speaker (a type of personal identity match); (2) shared political party identifications with the speaker (a type of social identity match); and/or (3) expectations about values traditionally associated with different political parties (an expectancy violation/confirmation). The independent and joint effects of these factors on the success of a persuasive message were examined, using the theoretical framework of dual-process models of persuasion. Participants (N = 301), classified according to their party identifications and primary value orientations, read a political speech that varied by argument quality, speaker party, and values evoked. Results indicated that value matching promotes close attention to the message, while party mismatching increases message rejection. These effects depend to some extent, however, on expectancies about values traditionally associated with different parties. Participants especially rejected messages from rival party members when the speaker evoked unexpected values. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for the efficacy of values-based political communication.

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