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Cueing God: Religious Cues and Voter Support

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 February 2014

Bryan McLaughlin*
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
David Wise
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
*
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Bryan McLaughlin, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 821 University Ave., 5115 Vilas Hall, Madison, WI 53706. E-mail: btmclaughlin@wisc.edu

Abstract

Scholars contend that correctly applying religious cues is crucial to winning political elections. This article examines the effect of general religious cues by conducting an experiment on a national sample (N = 520). Through the use of a fictitious congressional candidate's webpage, we examine how subtle and overt religious cues interact with citizen religiosity to affect political evaluations. The findings demonstrate that politicians who use overt religious cues run the risk of alienating a large portion of potential voters. Religious cues do, however, appear to become more effective as citizens become more religious. We also find some evidence that overt religious cues are more polarizing than subtle religious cues. This article provides a foundation from which to more thoroughly consider how general religious cues can affect political outcomes and how these cues may interact with other factors.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association 2014 

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