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The Variable Persuasiveness of Political Rhetoric

Blumenau, Jack; Lauderdale, Benjamin E; (2022) The Variable Persuasiveness of Political Rhetoric. American Journal of Political Science 10.1111/ajps.12703. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Which types of political rhetoric are most persuasive? Politicians make arguments that share common rhetorical elements, including metaphor, ad hominem attacks, appeals to expertise, moral appeals, and many others. However, political arguments are also highly multidimensional, making it difficult to assess the relative persuasive power of these elements. We report on a novel experimental design which assesses the relative persuasiveness of a large number of arguments that deploy a set of rhetorical elements to argue for and against proposals across a range of UK political issues. We find modest differences in the average effectiveness of rhetorical elements shared by many arguments, but also large variation in the persuasiveness of arguments of the same rhetorical type across issues. In addition to revealing that some argument-types are more effective than others in shaping public opinion, these results have important implications for the interpretation of survey-experimental studies in the field of political communication.

Type: Article
Title: The Variable Persuasiveness of Political Rhetoric
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12703
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12703
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022 The Authors. American Journal of Political Science published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Midwest Political Science Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10145870
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