This paper examines the persuasability of rhetorical value framing within a presidential nominating campaign, in an effort to understand how values and value-laden language may provide useful signals in electoral contexts where partisan cues are absent. Relying on a survey-experiment conducted during the 2000 Republican nomination campaign, I evaluate the relative persuasiveness of arguments framed in either individualistic or egalitarian terms. Drawing upon an “active-receiver” model of framing effects, I posit that Republican primary voters respond more readily to candidates when they use individualistic frames than when they use egalitarian frames, because individualism is a more “chronically accessible” value construct for Republicans. Furthermore, I hypothesize that this dynamic is particularly pronounced among more educated respondents, who have been trained to recognize abstract value cues and automatically apply them to applied political contexts. The experimental findings support these hypotheses.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 25, 2005
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