The role of self-interest and competence in attitudes toward politicians
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Information on a politician's competence (low vs. high) and on his program regarding interests of the retired persons (against vs. for these interests) was presented to a group of retired persons (whose interests were involved) and a group of university students (whose interests were not involved). Voting intentions were predicted and found to be influenced by competence in both the retired and student participants, but only the former group was influenced by the politician's program relevant to retirees' interests. The self-interest strongly influenced also the perceived morality, competence, and liking of the politician. The influence of interest on liking was completely mediated by the morality ascribed to the target politician (but only for the retired participants whose interests were actually involved). The results were discussed as a support for the candidate-centered voting and an extension of a self-interest/status account of differences between liking and respect as separate dimensions of interpersonal attitudes.
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