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Style Issues and Vote Choice

James E. Campbell and Kenneth John Meier
Political Behavior
Vol. 1, No. 3 (Autumn, 1979), pp. 203-215
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/586371
Page Count: 13
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Style Issues and Vote Choice
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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.

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