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Over the last twenty years, political advertising has surpassed news and other traditional political sources as the most important source of voting information. Its role has been increasingly critical to election outcomes, as party-based campaigns have been transformed into media-based ones. Political ads work to set the public agenda for a campaign and help candidates shape the impressions voters have of them. Given the effect on public policies and elected officials that voting decisions have, it is important to understand how campaign advertising influences voter attitudes and behaviors.

As political advertising has grown, a substantial body of research has considered the effects of advertising in the political process. However, little research has been undertaken to examine voters’ cognitive responses to political advertisements, and, in particular, voter attributions of candidate motives in the political arena.

Available for download on Monday, April 15, 2024