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Campaign Tone, Political Affect, and Communicative Engagement

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Research suggests that, overall, campaign advertising encourages citizen political communication. Extending this line of inquiry, this study aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of ad effects by distinguishing campaign ads based on advertising tone, the candidate on whose behalf the ads work, and voters' candidate preference. Analyses of a national survey merged with ad tracking data for the 2000 presidential campaign demonstrate that different types of political advertising elicit a range of emotions about the candidates and that some of these emotions impact the likelihood and nature of political discussion. Formal testing of indirect effects reveals that attack advertising encourages homogeneous political discussion by eliciting feelings of anxiety about the opposing candidate. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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