Department of Political Science

Party over Pocketbook? How Party Cues Influence Opinion When Citizens Have a Stake in Policy

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Do political parties influence opinion when citizens have a stake in policy? We study the effects of party cues in the context of an unprecedented collective bargaining dispute in Denmark where the salary and work rights for public employees were at stake. With an experimental design that exploits a naturally occurring, sharp variation in party cues, we find that party cues influence opinion among public employees at least as much as in previous studies that are typically conducted on policy issues with little direct consequence to citizens' everyday life. Moreover, we show that party cues do not lead citizens to go against their self-interest, but rather work by moderating opinion among citizens voicing the most extreme policy demands. These findings highlight an unappreciated potential of political parties to temper--not fuel--extreme opinion.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

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