Washington, October 17 : The timing of choosing what kind of speech a candidate standing in a political election should deliver actually matters when it comes to persuading novice voters, according to a study.
Hakkyun Kim of Concordia University, Akshay Rao of the University of Minnesota, and Angela Lee of Northwestern University have found that voters seem to be quite interested in abstract themes when facing a choice in the distant future.
However, as the election draws near, voters start paying attention to details of the candidate's positions on issues of importance to them, say the researchers.
The team point out how voters continued to respond to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's messages when his rhetoric emphasized abstract notions of hope, change, and judgment when he began his campaign, despite the fact that political commentators were criticising him for his lack of specifics.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, frequently presented detailed proposals on a host of topics ranging from foreign policy issues like the Iraq War to domestic issues like the economy and health care reform, according to the researchers.
They concede that informed voters are neither affected by abstract or concrete information nor by how distant the election is.
However, the researchers insist that political novices tend to be more persuaded by abstract messages when the choice is far in the future, and by concrete messages when the choice is in the near future.
While the study focused on political contexts, the researchers believe that the underlying argument applies equally well to many consumption contexts such as deciding which college to attend, which automobile to purchase when one graduates from college, or where to live when one retires.
The team present their study in the Journal of Consumer Research.