Influencing Voter Behavior? A Balance Theory Perspective on Framing Happiness in the 2012 US Presidential Election

By T. F. J. (Derik) Steyn, Theresa Billiot, Tony Wohlers, Elanie Steyn and Imran Hasnat.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 12, 2016 $US5.00

Voter dissatisfaction with a poor US economy during President Obama’s first term in office poses the question of how he was re-elected to a second term. If Republican strategists framed the 2012 election as a referendum on the economy, then a clear disconnect between dissatisfaction and voting behavior is indicative. This article employs balance theory and the theory of framing to explore how the 2012 Obama campaign favorably persuaded voters. We argue that the Obama campaign framed economically related dimensions of happiness (e.g., income equality and employment) to increase voters’ individual happiness despite the unfavorable economic climate.

Keywords: Balance Theory, Framing, Happiness, Voter Behavior, Elections, United States, Politics

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.1-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 12, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 757.253KB)).

Dr. T. F. J. (Derik) Steyn

Professor, School of Business, Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma, USA

Dr. Theresa Billiot

Assistant Professor, School of Business, Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma, USA

Dr. Tony Wohlers

Director of Academic Enrichment and Associate Professor of Political Science, Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma, USA

Dr. Elanie Steyn

Associate Professor, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Imran Hasnat

Graduate Student, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA