Believe it or not? Partisanship, preferences, and the credibility of campaign promises Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2020

start page

  • 137

end page

  • 149


  • 2


  • 7

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2052-2630

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2052-2649


  • We use a novel survey experiment with a broadly representative sample to reveal an important phenomenon in voter integration of campaign communications: preference-mediated partisan motivation.When evaluating the credibility of candidate position changes on minimum wagepolicy (a readily quantifiable and salient issue domain), partisans do not take a new stance at face value, apply universal skepticism, or simply afford more credibility to co-partisans.Instead, they process a candidate's stance through an interaction between the voter's partisan allegiance and their own policy preference. Partisans update more when a co-partisan moves closer to them than when the candidate shifts away from them. The opposite pattern emerges with the other party's candidates: partisans tend to be more receptive if the candidate movesaway from them. This feature of campaign message acceptance has profound implications for political communication and our understanding of partisan cognition.


  • partisanship; motivated reasoning; ambiguity; policy; candidate position changes