Assumptions of Rationality in Political Marketing: The Case of the Republican Autopsy

Neil Bendle, June Cotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


There exists considerable controversy over what voter rationality assumptions underlie political marketing. Some of this controversy derives from the lack of clear definitions of rationality. An examination of seven common assumptions that underlie the concept of rationality shows that only a modest level of information, freedom from errors, and consistency are necessary for the marketing concept to have value in politics. The authors examine the implicit assumptions regarding voter rationality of the experienced Republican political campaign managers who wrote the Growth and Opportunity Project (“The Republican Autopsy”); their assumptions of voter rationality are consistent with those in the theoretical review. We find they appreciate the value of correctly tailoring messages and do not subscribe to a belief that political markets are efficient. We suggest that greater clarity about the various meanings of rationality should better allow marketing theorists to embrace ideas from disparate disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-83
JournalJournal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished online - 2 Mar 2016


  • Bounded rationality
  • marketing concept
  • political marketing
  • rationality
  • voter decision-making


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