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Keywords:

  • Moral conviction;
  • moral values;
  • electoral politics;
  • political engagement;
  • political participation

The 2004 presidential election led to considerable discussion about whether moral values motivated people to vote, and if so, whether it led to a conservative electoral advantage. The results of two studies—one conducted in the context of the 2000 presidential election, the other in the context of the 2004 presidential election—indicated that stronger moral convictions associated with candidates themselves and attitudes on issues of the day uniquely predicted self-reported voting behavior and intentions to vote even when controlling for a host of alternative explanations (e.g., attitude strength, strength of party identification). In addition, we found strong support for the hypothesis that moral convictions equally motivated political engagement for those on the political right and left and little support for the notion that a combination of morality and politics is something more characteristic of the political right than it is of the political left.