The purpose of this paper is to reinterpret and test empirically Newman's model of voter's choice behavior, where three elements influencing the choice of a given candidate were included: the media's role in the election; cognitive reasons to vote for; and emotional feelings toward the candidate.
The data from Polish and US 2000 presidential elections have been analyzed and compared. The research purpose is concerned with the measurement of the model's seven domains of political object evaluation (issues and policies, emotional feelings, candidate image, current events, social imagery and epistemic issues), and its predictive power for the choice of a presidential candidate. The data are analyzed using the methodology of structural equations modeling, and are interpreted with the terms of mutual causal relationships between these domains.
The key factor in influencing voting behavior is evoking positive emotions towards the candidate and then providing voters with a justification for such affect. However, this is especially applicable in an evolving democracy like Poland. In an established democracy like the USA, voters have already learned to more carefully analyze messages from presidential campaigns and they are more resistant to the unconscious power of affect. Furthermore, in the case of challengers, the media exerts a stronger influence on the valuation of their candidacies, but for incumbents, the role of the media is not so pervasive.
The main limitation of the results of this study is the non‐representative character of the samples used and its size. Research should be carried out on a representative sample as the next step toward a complete verification of the voter behavior model.
The reported results make it possible to elaborate more precisely and effectively strategies to segment voters and position candidates in the minds of voters. Political consultants can use the level of electorate cognitive stability to accurately control the media in political campaigns for their candidate.
The paper presents an interdisciplinary and cross‐cultural approach to analyzing and understanding voter behavior. It offers a baseline to carry out research in disciplines pertinent to political marketing, communication, and psychology.
Cwalina, W., Falkowski, A. and Newman, B.I. (2010), "Towards the development of a cross‐cultural model of voter behavior: Comparative analysis of Poland and the US", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 44 No. 3/4, pp. 351-368. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561011020462
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