The influence of advertising on voting behaviour

Ndlovu, Naledi
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The purpose of this study was to assess whether advertising influences South Africans’ voting behaviour. The research compared two advertising appeals, fear and rational, to assess which is most preferred by voters. A secondary purpose was also to review whether having knowledge of voters’ influencers and using that knowledge, coupled with an advertising appeal, would influence voters’ behaviour. The study also briefly reviewed whether demographics such as race, gender and education level could have an impact on voting behaviour. The study also reviewed the relationship between the influencers and voting behaviour. The research was done using an online and hard-copy questionnaire. Sampling was both random and by referral. Three hundred and nineteen valid questionnaires were returned. Various frequency analyses were conducted to establish the varying relationships amongst the variables. The main findings of the study were the following: firstly, race is a very significant issue influencing South African voting behaviour. The second finding is that trust in the leader of the political party and that political party’s previous government performance are significant issues that voters consider when engaging in voting. The third finding from the study was that the advertising appeal most preferred by voters between rational and fear is rational appeal. The final finding is that voters can be influenced by advertising to change their voting behaviour, however the change is not brought by advertising in isolation other factors need to be considered.
Advertising, South Africa, Voting behaviour