What Do We Know about Political Advertising? Not Much! Political Persuasion Knowledge and Advertising Skepticism in the United States

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In a democracy, political advertising should offer truthful information so voters can make informed decisions about candidates. Given changes in political advertising (digital media, regulations), voters may not have the requisite political advertising literacy to critically scrutinize and evaluate political messages, leading them to be persuaded by false advertisements. Using the Persuasion Knowledge Model (PKM) as theoretical framework, we compare three forms of persuasion knowledge (PK) about political advertising (objective, subjective, topic) to test how these types of knowledge relate to one another and to a common coping response strategy of PK: skepticism of political advertising. Results of a survey comprised of a national sample of U.S. voters show low objective persuasion knowledge about political advertising, especially for digital messages and regulation and relatively low-middle topic (political knowledge). As predicted, the more knowledge about politics in general (i.e., topic knowledge) the respondents had, the more objective and subjective persuasion knowledge they had about political advertising. Topic knowledge and subjective persuasion knowledge (but not objective persuasion knowledge) predicted skepticism toward political advertising. Ramifications for theory development of PKM and for future political advertising literacy interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'What Do We Know about Political Advertising? Not Much! Political Persuasion Knowledge and Advertising Skepticism in the United States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this