Priming Risk and Policy Change

25 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 31 Aug 2009

See all articles by David L. Eckles

David L. Eckles

University of Georgia - Department of Insurance, Legal Studies, Real Estate

Brian F. Schaffner

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Public opinion plays an important role in affecting policy outcomes; yet, we know little about how citizens deal with risk when forming attitudes on political issues. In this project, we examine how priming individuals to consider risk affects the political opinions expressed by citizens. We use a survey experiment where all respondents were asked for their views on four policy proposals, but half received a risk prime as they answered these questions while the other half did not. We find that even a subtle risk prime induces significant changes in attitudes on some policy issues and that the effect is particularly pronounced for individuals with less political knowledge and less tolerance for risk.

Keywords: risk, priming, public opinion

Suggested Citation

Eckles, David L. and Schaffner, Brian F., Priming Risk and Policy Change (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1449902

David L. Eckles

University of Georgia - Department of Insurance, Legal Studies, Real Estate ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Brian F. Schaffner (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States

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