Tuesday Seminar – 26 October

Voters’ Preferences for Parties’ Moral Rhetoric

Jae-Hee Jung (University of Houston)

Moral rhetoric in party messages reflect parties’ attempts to represent voters’ moral values. It is unclear, however, how voters feel about such messages of moral representation. Do voters want parties to use moral rhetoric? Based on insights about the link between morality and politics, I argue that moral rhetoric is preferred by a broad set of voters, including copartisans and non-copartisans. Specifically, I posit that moral rhetoric is appealing to not only supporters of the party, but also non-supporters who hold strong moral convictions about politics. Using original survey data from six countries and additional studies in the UK, I find evidence in support of my argument that moral rhetoric is attractive to voters beyond the party base. The results point to the unifying potential of morality in politics, in addition to its divisiveness. The paper contributes to research on party competition, morality and politics, and representation.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 17 December 2021 at 2 h 20 min.