The authors present and test a model for the evolution of preferences. Personal preferences are represented by rankings with possible ties and are posited to change under the influence of "tokens" of information in the environment. These tokens may not be directly controlled or observed by the researcher. The authors apply the model to 1992 National Election Study panel data (W. E. Miller, D. R. Kinder, S. J. Rosenstone, & NES, 1993). The parameter estimates suggest that negative campaigning played a major role in the information flow. Democrats and Republicans experienced a barrage of contradicting information about Perot; Democrats, Republicans, and Independents each received or perceived different information. A shift in the perception of the candidates led the Republicans to evaluate Bush and Perot less favorably after the election. These results demonstrate the model's potential to analyze persuasion as a real-time stochastic process and without a media content analysis.
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