Priming Risk and Policy Change
25 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 31 Aug 2009
Date Written: 2009
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
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