Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


The majority of the American electorate is uninformed with regards to politics, and to compensate for their lack of knowledge, they take political cues from perceived experts. This study examines the impact of political cues from various sources, and considers how individuals analyze source credibility and framing. The study was conducted on Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus, via survey collection. Post data analysis, the surveys proved cues given by perceived experts were more compelling than non-perceived experts, and emotional cues were more compelling than rational cues. These findings confirm individuals use peripheral route processing more frequently than central route processing , in accordance with the elaboration likelihood model (Petty & Cacioppo 1980). The multi-regression model also confirms that individuals with lower levels of political knowledge accept cues at higher frequencies.