This study addresses the effectiveness of political advertising in an extreme context, during war-time. A self-administered cross-sectional survey was used to collect data during the 2016 parliamentary elections in Syria. Structural equation modelling was utilized to test the hypothetical model and its invariance related to political involvement. The results indicated that beliefs are a four-dimensional structure consisting of information, veracity, sarcasm, and cynicism. Furthermore, war-time perceptions were found to negatively affect attitude towards political advertising via sarcasm among less politically involved voters. Negative attitude was found to be linked to lower levels of veracity among such voters and to higher levels of cynicism for those who are highly involved in politics. Negative attitudes regarding political advertising were found for lowering the chances for watching advertisements, for supporting a candidate, and for willingness to vote. The results also revealed that paying attention to political advertising does not relate to voters’ intention to vote. This study is the first of its kind to empirically validate a conceptual model predicting voters’ turnout behaviour based on voters’ war-time perceptions, beliefs and attitudes regarding political advertising in an authoritarian setting. In addition, this study investigates whether the effects of the proposed model may be moderated by voters’ political involvement.
- Arab uprisings
- civil war
- political marketing communications
- voting behaviour