Endorsement and Framing Effects in Experimental and Natural Settings: The Supreme Court, the Media and the American Public
36 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2013 Last revised: 26 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 25, 2013
Political communications scholars worry that the field is based almost entirely on experiments in artificial environments, and that key propositions have not yet been confirmed in natural settings. To address this concern, we conducted a study in a natural setting that confirms key theoretical propositions, and compares experimental and real-life treatments. We surveyed a representative sample of Americans shortly before and shortly after two Supreme Court decisions. We observe endorsement effects in natural settings, and find that the Supreme Court can increase support for controversial policies. We also observe framing effects, and find that people who watch news programs that emphasize the Court majority’s frame are especially likely to follow the Court’s lead. An experiment embedded in the post-decision survey illustrates that people who receive information for the first time in the course of an experiment respond in similar ways to people who receive it from the news media.
Keywords: court, trust, opinion, survey, experiments, methodology, health care, immigration
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