This study explores the mediating role political visualization–the process of imagining future political scenarios–plays in determining how political advertising affects voting behaviour. Specifically, we theorize that when partisans are exposed to political ads that are narrative (compared to non-narrative) in nature, they will engage in more political visualization. Partisans will then experience emotional reactions to these imagined futures–specifically, enthusiasm for the in-group candidate and anger towards the out-group candidate. These emotional reactions, in turn, will make a partisan more likely to vote for the in-group candidate and less likely to vote for the out-group candidate. We test this model by employing an experimental design where American partisans were presented a political ad (in the form of an email) that is either narrative or non-narrative. Results provide support for most of our expectations and suggest that visualization may play an important role in determining the influence of a political ad.
- political advertising