viernes, 12 de mayo de 2017

Influence of Subjective Norms in the #youthvote

Opinion leaders are not the only influential agents on first-time vot-
ing. Ajzen and Fishbein’s Theory of Reasoned Action (1977) closely
examines the issue of attitude-behavior consistency. They find that the
best predictors of our behavior are our intentions, which in turn are de-
termined by our attitudes and subjective norms (i.e., for whom signifi-
cant others and close friends would vote). For example, if my parents
and peers vote for Bush, this should increase the likelihood that I will
vote for Bush, especially if I am not personally involved in the decision.
In other words, subjective norms may have a greater impact on voting
behavior than other influences including opinion leaders, such as the
media and celebrity endorsers.
The Theory of Reasoned Action is most successful when applied to
situations that are under an individual’s volitional control. However,
when a situation arises in which the individual does not have complete
control, the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen 1985) is more appropriate. In this theory, control includes both external and internal factors.
External factors include those that are situational or environmental.
Internal factors include those such as skill and ability. Individuals are
less likely to form a strong intention to perform a specific behavior, in
this case voting, if they believe they lack the necessary resources or
ability to do so. First-time voters may have attitudes and subjective
norms which point toward intentions to vote for one specific candidate.
However, if they perceive that they do not have the needed behavioral control to accomplish the end behavior, they may choose to avoid the behavior entirely.
For example, some first-time voters do not vote because they do not
perceive that their vote will make a difference. To illustrate, a first-time
Republican voter who resides in a largely Democratic state may not
make the effort to drive or walk to the poll to vote if s/he believes that
the vote will have little or no effect in a state whose party affiliation is so
strongly Democratic. In other words, feeling as though s/he has no control over the overall state’s vote for a specific candidate, the first-time
voter may opt to abstain from the voting process.
In an effort to overcome the voter’s perceived lack of control and/or influence, voting advocates and political parties utilize celebrities and mass
media coverage of politics and political campaigns to reinforce subjective
norms and voting intentions (Howell 1986; O’Shaughnessy 1987). 
Celebrities are utilized because they are an inspiration for many young peo-
ple and often act as a reference group for some decisions (Kamins 1990).
The premise behind the use of celebrity endorsers is that they will not
only draw attention, but the image values associated with them will also
be transferred to the product (in this case, a political candidate) (Englis,
Solomon, and Ashmore 1994; O’Mahony and Meenaghan 1997; Till and
Shimp 1998). In terms of politics, celebrities bring visibility and money
to campaigns/agendas (Maurstad 2004). Their involvement often garners
or reinvigorates poor or waning media attention enhancing a party’s abil-
ity to promote their message (Harper’s Magazine 1992). Furthermore,
their star power can bring “hipness” to candidates that are otherwise per-ceived as being too conservative or outdated (Maurstad 2004)

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