Political Support, Cognitive Dissonance and Political Preferences

69 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2022

See all articles by Tanja Artiga González

Tanja Artiga González

VU University Amsterdam

Francesco Capozza

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Georg D. Granic

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Applied Economics; Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

Voters often express support for a candidate whose policy platforms differ from their ideal policy preferences. We argue that under these circumstance acts of expressing support can causally change voters’ policy preferences. We conceptualize our arguments in a theoretical model of policy preference changes rooted in cognitive dissonance theory. A pre-registered, online experiment with 1,200 U.S. participants confirms our main hypotheses. As predicted by cognitive dissonance theory, voters align their policy preferences with those of the supported candidate. The more important the policy issue, the sharper the change in preferences. We also find that larger pre-support policy distance and higher effort in expressing support increases the magnitude of preference changes. Our results suggest that policy preferences can change mechanically after voters express support for a candidate.

Keywords: political participation, political support, political preferences, cognitive dissonance, online experiment

JEL Classification: C910, D720, D910

Suggested Citation

Artiga Gonzalez, Tanja and Capozza, Francesco and Granic, Georg, Political Support, Cognitive Dissonance and Political Preferences (2022). CESifo Working Paper No. 9549, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4024775 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4024775

Tanja Artiga Gonzalez (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

Francesco Capozza

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Georg Granic

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Applied Economics ( email )

Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.eur.nl/en/ese/people/georg-granic

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

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