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Gregory Neddenriep and Anthony J Nownes, "An experimental investigation of the effects of interest-group endorsements on poorly aligned partisans in the 2008 presidential election," Party Politics, 20 (July, 2014), 617-631. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol20/issue4/ ]

First paragraph:
In 2008, both major party presidential candidates racked up numerous interest-group endorsements. For example, several groups, including the AFL-CIO, the National Education Association, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Sierra Club, endorsed Barack Obama, while a number of groups including Log Cabin Republicans, the National Rifle Association, and the National Right to Life Committee endorsed John McCain.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Biographical information sheet provided to biography group.
Figure 2. Interest-group endorsement sheet provided to treatment group.
Table 1. Characteristics of respondents.
Table 2. OLS regression results: Poorly-aligned Republicans.
Figure 3. Marginal effect of treatment on McCain thermometer as level of political awareness changes for CPCRs.
Figure 4. Marginal effect of treatment on Obama thermometer as level of political awareness changes for CMPCRs
Figure 5. Marginal effect of treatment on McCain thermometer as level of political awareness changes for CMPCRs.
Table 3. OLS regression results: Poorly aligned Democrats.
Figure 6. Marginal effect of treatment on Obama thermometer as level of political awareness changes, for LPLDs.
Figure 7. Marginal Effect of Treatment on Obama Therm ometer as Level of Political Awareness Changes, for LMPLDs.

Last Paragraph:
Our results point up another dilemma for interest groups that wish to make use of endorsements. In his landmark book, The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (1992), John Zaller argues that citizens with low levels of political information are not likely to be affected by new information because they are highly unlikely to be exposed to new information. Our results, then, lead to the following conclusion: interest-group endorsements affect some poorly aligned citizens, but only the poorly aligned citizens who are least likely to be exposed to them! This presents a challenge for interest groups -- they have to find the voters who may actually be affected by their endorsements, and this may not be easy..

Last updated June 2014