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Relying upon the results of a randomized, post-test only, control group experiment, we examine the effects of The New York Times endorsement of Barack Obama on potential voters in the 2012 presidential election (N=443). Our findings show that the Times endorsement mattered to exposed respondents. Specifically, they used the Times endorsement as a candidate evaluation cue in the real world. Different respondents, however, responded to the Times endorsement cue differently. Those who viewed the Times favorably accepted the endorsement and evaluated President Obama more positively and Mitt Romney more negatively after viewing it. Conversely, respondents who viewed the Times unfavorably rejected the endorsement and evaluated President Obama more negatively and Mitt Romney more positively after viewing it. In more general terms, our findings show that even in information-saturated, highly salient election campaigns, voters rely to some extent on shortcuts and cues when they evaluate candidates.

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