Politicians Appear more Competent when Using Numerical Rhetoric

Rasmus T. Pedersen

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    Politically relevant numbers often have very limited effects on the policy attitudes of ordinary citizens, which make the widespread use of numbers by politicians somewhat puzzling. This paper argues that politicians’ numerical rhetoric may function as a voter heuristic and that the use of numbers by politicians therefore has a positive impact on voters’ perceptions of these politicians. A survey experiment confirms that even when numbers do little to move voters’ policy positions, numbers do have the effect of making politicians appear more competent. As a consequence, numerical rhetoric can in some cases increase electoral support for a politician.
    TidsskriftJournal of Experimental Political Science
    Udgave nummer2
    Sider (fra-til)129-150
    Antal sider22
    StatusUdgivet - 2017

    Bibliografisk note

    Published online: 11. September 2017


    • Public opinion
    • Voting behavior
    • Voter heuristics
    • Candidate traits
    • Survey experiments