321 Political Message Impact

Based on research by Schott, Malte., & Wolf, Jule. (2018).

Written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

In Europe, do election posters persuade voters’ decisions during campaigns? What is the impact of displaying specific policy content on posters instead of the usual generalities?

German psychologists gave 5 surveys for a total of over 400 participants.  They studied persons’ reactions to policy messages on election posters. They concluded that political party affiliation influenced understanding and acceptance of the policies.

Participants rated the policies from their favored political parties significantly more positively than those from unfavored political parties. Results indicated participants were influenced by the reasoning behind the policies.  The stronger their support and familiarity with their preferred political party, the more likely they understood and accepted the reasoning behind the policies. The reasoning behind the policies, guided the participants’ voting behaviors.  In addition, the impacts of their policy evaluation transferred from their political party to their political club’s policy evaluation.  Therefore, election posters can have greater influence beyond just the political vote.

These results suggest that attitudes formed from election posters can powerfully influence public opinion.  Thus, when election posters include educational policy statements, they inform and spur debate and public discussion.


Schott, M., & Wolf, J. (2018). Election poster persuasion: Attitude formation in the void. Social Psychology, 49(1), 3-15.


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