Differential Effects of Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation on Political Candidate Support: The Moderating Role of Message Framing

Authors

  • Jarret T. Crawford
  • Jennifer L. Brady
  • Jane M. Pilanski
  • Heather Erny

Abstract

Employing a dual process motivational (DPM) model perspective, we found that how political messages are framed influences the differential effects of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation (SDO) on political candidate support in the United States. Study 1 (N = 85) found that RWA and SDO differentially predicted support for right-wing candidates who used cohesion and group status threats to frame same-sex marriage, respectively. Study 2 (N = 89) largely replicated those findings on immigration policy. In Study 3 (N = 128), the hypothesis that RWA and SDO negatively predicted support for left-wing candidates who framed same-sex marriage in terms of individual liberty and social equality, respectively, received partial support. Additional analyses indicated that the effects of RWA on candidate support in these studies were driven by specific theoretically-relevant dimensions of RWA. Together, these results indicate that candidates can enhance their appeal by strategically employing value-based political messages targeting different subsets of their constituency.

Author Biographies

Jarret T. Crawford, Psychology Department, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA
Associate Professor of Psychology
Jennifer L. Brady, Psychology Department, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA
Jane M. Pilanski, Psychology Department, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA
Heather Erny, Psychology Department, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA