Pharisee Effect

The Pharisee Effect refers to a boomerang, or voter backlash, toward candidates who overuse religion as the basis of a political argument. The phenomenon derives its name from a New Testament passage (Luke 18:9–14) in which Jesus criticized a Pharisee for being too public with his prayers. The Pharisee's mistake is that his loud public prayers were intended to enhance his own image rather than being an honest expression of internal religious devotion. The Pharisees, it was argued, were so openly religious that they were subject to charges of insincerity and hypocrisy. Powell and Neiva argued that the same thing can occur with the use of political appeals in politics.

Theoretical discussion of the Pharisee Effect is grounded in game theory as developed by von Neumann ...

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