Political Behavior

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 203–215 | Cite as

Style issues and vote choice

  • James E. Campbell
  • Kenneth John Meier
Article

Abstract

It has been an assumption common in voting research that candidates must offer and voters must perceive opposing stands on issues for those issues to have a rational influence on the vote. Though apparently reasonable, this assumption eliminates analysis of the rational impact of style in voter thinking. This article argues that style issues should not be so easily dismissed and were of some importance in the 1972 presidential election. First, the data indicate that voters considered style issues as important as position issues. Second, voters were able to detect differences between the candidates on certain style issues. Third, salient style issues and salient position issues are similar in their causal relationship to the vote. These findings lend support to the general conclusion that style issues are an important and rational element of voter deliberations and have several implications for the study of public opinion, the behavior of political leaders, and the adequacy of elections as mechanisms of governmental accountability.

Keywords

Causal Relationship Public Opinion Political Leader Presidential Election Rational Impact 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Berelson, B., Lazarsfeld, P., and McPhee, W.Voting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954.Google Scholar
  2. Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., Miller, W. E., and Stokes, D. E.The American Voter. New York: John Wiley, 1964.Google Scholar
  3. Cobb, R. W., and Elder, C. D. The politics of agenda-building: an alternative perspective for modern democratic theory.Journal of Politics, 1971,33, 892–915.Google Scholar
  4. Downs, A.An economic theory of democracy. New York: Harper & Row, 1957.Google Scholar
  5. Fiorina, M. P. An outline for a model of party choice.American Journal of Political Science, 1977,21, 601–625.Google Scholar
  6. Fishbein, M.Readings in attitude measurement. New York: John Wiley, 1967.Google Scholar
  7. Fishbein, M., and Coombs, F. S. Basis for decision. Paper presented at the 1971 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, 1971.Google Scholar
  8. Heise, D. R. Causal inference from panel data. In E. F. Borgatta and G. W. Bohrnstedt (Eds),Sociological methodology. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1970.Google Scholar
  9. Kessel, J. H. Comment: The Issues of Issue Voting.American Political Science Review, 1972,66, 459–465.Google Scholar
  10. Margolis, M. From confusion to confusion: issues and the American voter (1956–1972).American Political Science Review, 1977,71, 31–43.Google Scholar
  11. McCullough, B. C. Effects of variables using panel data: a review of techniques.Public Opinion Quarterly, 1978,42, 199–220.Google Scholar
  12. Miller, A. H., Miller, W. E., Raine, A. S., and Brown, T. A. A majority party in disarray: policy polarization in the 1972 election.American Political Science Review, 1976,70, 753–778.Google Scholar
  13. Natchez, P. B., and Bupp, I. C. Candidates, issues, and voters.Public Policy, 1968,16, 409–437.Google Scholar
  14. Nie, N. H., Verba, S., and Petrocik, J. R.The changing American voter. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976.Google Scholar
  15. Niemi, R. G., and Weisberg, H. F.Controversies in American voting behavior. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1976.Google Scholar
  16. Osgood, C. et al.The measurement of meaning. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1957Google Scholar
  17. Page, B. I. The theory of political ambiguity.American Political Science Review, 1976,70, 742–752.Google Scholar
  18. Page, B. I. Elections and social choice: the state of the evidence.American Journal of Political Science, 1977,21, 639–668.Google Scholar
  19. Page, B. I.Choices and echoes in presidential elections. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  20. Patterson, T. E., and McClure, R. D.The unseeing eye. New York: Putnam, 1976.Google Scholar
  21. Pelz, D. C., and Andrews, F. M. Detecting causal priorities in panel study data.American Sociological Review, 1964,29, 836–847.Google Scholar
  22. Pelz, D. C., and Lew, R. A. Heise's causal model applied. In E. F. Borgatta and G. W. Bohrnstedt (Eds.),Sociological Methodology. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1970.Google Scholar
  23. Pomper, G. M. From confusion to clarity.American Political Science Review, 1972,66, 415–428.Google Scholar
  24. Reynolds, H. T. Rationality and Attitudes toward Political Parties and Candidates.Journal of Politics, 1974,37, 983–1005.Google Scholar
  25. Shapiro, M. Rational political man: a synthesis of economic and social-psychological perspectives.American Political Science Review, 1969,63, 1106–1119.Google Scholar
  26. Shepsle, K. A. The strategy of ambiguity: uncertainty and electoral competition.American Political Science Review, 1972,66, 555–568.Google Scholar
  27. Stokes, D. E. Some dynamic elements of contests for the presidency.American Political Science Review, 1966,60, 19–28.Google Scholar
  28. Steeper, F. T., and Teeter, R. M. Comment on ‘A majority party in disarray.’American Political Science Review, 1976,70, 806–813.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Campbell
    • 1
  • Kenneth John Meier
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceSyracuse UniversityItaly
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of OklahomaNorman

Personalised recommendations