Public perceptions regarding the authenticity of the 2012 presidential candidates


Public perceptions of candidates’ personality traits play important roles in shaping vote choice. Previous accounts point to authenticity as one key trait, but little research has systematically investigated perceptions regarding candidate authenticity. This study uses data from a telephone survey to show that political predispositions (trust, external efficacy, interest, partisanship, and ideology), and television news use (broadcast and cable) predicted perceptions of candidate authenticity in the context of the 2012 presidential campaign. A question-wording experiment also showed that perceptions regarding the authenticity of political messages varied across source (Obama or Romney), substance (working for “the middle class” or “job creators”), and the receiver’s partisanship.

Presidential Studies Quarterly, 44(4): 742-757
Philip Edward Jones
Philip Edward Jones
Associate Professor of Political Science