Values and the vote: Linking issue interpretations to the process of candidate choice

Dhavan V. Shah, David Domke, Daniel B. Wackman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This study explores how "moral" issues interact with individuals' core values to influence the mental processes involved in choosing among candidates. Drawing upon three major domains of research - (1) construct activation and framing; (2) values and the self; and (3) decision making - we examine how individuals interpret electoral issues and the influence of these evaluations on the process of electoral choice. The same research design was used with three subpopulations - military reservists, ROTC student members, and undergraduate students - expected to be differentially involved with two issues in the study, abortion and gays in the military. Subjects were presented simulated newspaper articles about an election contest and asked to make a candidate choice. Findings indicate that an individual's interpretation of issues - as either ethical or material in nature - is strongly related to differences in the type of decision-making strategy used, even after accounting for a variety of demographic, orientational, and issue importance variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-387
Number of pages31
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quaterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


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