Mobilization, Polarization, and Compromise: The Effect of Political Moralizing on Climate Change Politics

24 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014

See all articles by Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Matthew Potoski

University of California, Santa Barbara

Alex DeGolia

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Dena Gromet

University of Pennsylvania

David Sherman

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Leaf Van Boven

University of Colorado Boulder

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Connecting political issues of the day to people’s deeply held moral convictions, a process we call political moralizing, can influence the salience and direction of their views on the issue and even the nature of their political activity. Beyond opinion change and mobilization, political moralization also changes people’s decision processes on the issue in ways that have important political consequences. By activating and intensifying political attitudes, political moralizing can raise an issue’s profile on the political agenda, making it appear ripe for policy resolution. But political moralizing can also reduce the prospects for policy resolution by making people less willing to accept compromise and increasing perceived polarization on the issue. In this paper, we use innovative survey data, including novel experimental designs, to show that political moralizing can change and intensify public opinion about climate change policy. We find that political moralizing increases mobilization, but also increases perceptions of polarization and decreases acceptance of compromise. Paradoxically, the same strategies that excite the public may reduce the chances for enacting policy change.

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Sarah and Potoski, Matthew and DeGolia, Alex and Gromet, Dena and Sherman, David and Van Boven, Leaf, Mobilization, Polarization, and Compromise: The Effect of Political Moralizing on Climate Change Politics (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2451887

Sarah Anderson (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management ( email )

4670 Physical Sciences North
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131
United States

Matthew Potoski

University of California, Santa Barbara ( email )

IA 50011
United States

Alex DeGolia

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

2400 Bren Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131
United States

Dena Gromet

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

David Sherman

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Leaf Van Boven

University of Colorado Boulder ( email )

University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, 345 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303.735.5238 (Phone)
303.492.2967 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
160
rank
181,063
Abstract Views
813
PlumX Metrics