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01-06-2011 | Original Paper | Issue 2/2011

Political Behavior 2/2011

Political Awareness and Electoral Campaigns: Maximum Effects for Minimum Citizens?

Journal:
Political Behavior > Issue 2/2011
Author:
Ryan L. Claassen
Important notes

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11109-010-9129-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.

Abstract

Revisionists demonstrate campaigns mobilize, educate, activate predispositions, and change minds. Attention has turned from the “minimum effects” thesis to questions about the conditions under which campaigns matter and questions about which types of people are susceptible to campaign effects. Focusing on whether campaign effects are mediated by chronic political awareness, I find that current scholarship on this question is mixed. Some find that campaigns affect the politically unaware most, some find bigger effects among more aware citizens, and some find similar effects across the awareness distribution. Noting the possibility that awareness mediates different types of campaign effects differently (e.g. priming, persuasion, or learning), Zaller’s Receive–Accept-Sample framework is consulted to develop expectations. I test the RAS generated predictions using the 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey pre/post panel. The results support the theory that awareness mediates different campaign effects differently.

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