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Political Persuasion

Richard M. Perloff, Edward Horowitz and Gary Pettey


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Persuasion is an integral part of politics and a necessary component of the pursuit and exercise of power. Political persuasion is a process in which communicators try to convince other people to change their attitudes or behavior regarding a political issue through messages, in an atmosphere of free choice ( Perloff 2003 , 34). As the field of political communication has grown, so too has the number of studies exploring the processes and effects of political persuasive communication (→  Persuasion ). Political persuasion involves the application of persuasion principles to a context in which most individuals possess the seemingly incompatible characteristics of harboring strong feelings about a host of issues, yet caring precious little about the context in which these issues are played out. In order to understand political persuasion impact, one must appreciate the processes by which messages achieve their effects (→  Media Effects ). Cognitive processing models such as the →  elaboration likelihood model (see Petty et al. 2003 ) emphasize that under low political motivation or ability , voters base decisions on heuristics and are susceptible to cues peripheral to the main message, such as candidate attractiveness, political party labels, endorsements, and even the degree to which political names are repeated or are smooth-sounding (→  Information Processing ). Some researchers ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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