The Influence of Group and Outcome Cues on Perceptions of Governmental Spending
36 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2009 Last revised: 13 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 10, 2011
Previous research in issue framing has shown the importance of social groups in shaping opinion. When issues become tied to social groups through rhetoric, group sentiment becomes an important ingredient for opinion on associated issues. This project seeks to build upon such simple considerations of framing to examine the effect of group-implicating frame in conjunction with an additional component, the outcome. Results from an experiment embedded in a national survey suggest that, ignoring individual characteristics, outcomes are more important than beneficiaries when evaluating policy. When considering differences in individual sophistication however, we see that political knowledge serves as an important moderating factor for such frames, as well as individual dispositions. More sophisticated respondents, while still taking account of outcomes were also significantly more likely to differentiate between targeted groups. These findings have important implications for an understanding of how groups come to influence opinion through rhetoric, while raising a normative concern about the propensity for bias in issue opinion.
Keywords: Framing, Public Opinion, Earned Income Tax Credit
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By Leonie Huddy