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The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship$
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Eugene Borgida, Christopher M Federico, and John L Sullivan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335453

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335453.001.0001

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Strategic Politicians, Emotional Citizens, and the Rhetoric of Prediction

Strategic Politicians, Emotional Citizens, and the Rhetoric of Prediction

Chapter:
(p.100) Chapter 5 Strategic Politicians, Emotional Citizens, and the Rhetoric of Prediction
Source:
The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship
Author(s):

Jennifer Jerit (Contributor Webpage)

James H Kuklinski (Contributor Webpage)

Paul J Quirk

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335453.003.0005

This chapter argues that strategically interacting politicians who seek to sway public opinion, routinely use predictions about the outcomes of different policies to their advantage. This produces a political environment in which ordinary citizens hear opposing and often contradictory predictions about the future consequences of a policy. The chapter reviews two examples: the Lincoln–Douglas debates and the 1997 Devolution Referendum in Scotland. Over time, serious negative predictions about consequences came to dominate both debates. Those who identify strongly with one or another party or faction can overcome the difficulty created by such user-unfriendly political environments by simply adopting their parties' positions. However, initially-unaligned message recipients, who do not begin on one side or the other, and who want to make the best and most objective choices they can, face a very difficult challenge. The chapter concludes by offering speculations about how unaligned citizens might reach their judgments.

Keywords:   political parties, ideology, values, political rhetoric, affect

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