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American Opinion on TradePreferences without Politics$
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Alexandra Guisinger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190651824

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190651824.001.0001

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Could Positive Information Shift National-Level Beliefs?

Could Positive Information Shift National-Level Beliefs?

Chapter:
(p.200) Chapter 8 Could Positive Information Shift National-Level Beliefs?
Source:
American Opinion on Trade
Author(s):

Alexandra Guisinger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190651824.003.0008

Chapter 8 asks whether changing the types of information provided to voters would sufficiently move public opinion to make such a strategy viable for political actors. Three original survey experiments explore the role of positive factual information, partisan factual information, and simple altruistic framing in shaping opinions. In the first case, a randomly selected half of respondents watched a trade supportive political campaign ad narrated by John McCain. In the second case, respondents received positive messages from experts about the benefits for the United States of the World Trade Organization and the costs to the United States of responding to Chinese currency manipulation, but the partisan attribution of the expert cited in these messages varied. In the final case, respondents identified in random order their preference for U.S. trade policy and their preference for Chinese trade policy. Although all three affected individuals’ beliefs, those effects were not strong enough to overcome most participants’ support for trade protection. Positive messages also increased, rather than decreased, gender and race gaps in preferences for trade protection. The chapter concludes by arguing that these findings support the decision of most individuals seeking reelection not to embrace pro-trade messages.

Keywords:   protectionism, priming, positive information, China, World Trade Organization, currency manipulation, gender divide, survey experiment, elite cues

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