The uniform nature of mass opinion Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Enns, Peter K.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • This dissertation consists of three distinct chapters, which develop and test a theory of Proportional Message Reception. Chapter 1 outlines the theory of Proportional Message Reception and the resulting hypothesis of uniform opinion change. I test the hypothesis using individual-level and sub-aggregate data on Vietnam attitudes and defense spending preferences. Chapter 2 examines the implications of Proportional Message reception and uniform opinion change for welfare attitudes and inequality in the United States. Chapter 3 questions previous conceptions of opinion aggregation by showing that all segments of the public update their Policy Mood in response to changing economic conditions. The three chapters show that it is the proportion of countervailing messages an individual receives, not the number of messages, that matters for opinion change. Furthermore, the analyses demonstrate - in a substantial departure from previous literature - that the most and least politically aware segments of the public update their opinions at the same time, in the same direction, and in response to the same pattern of messages.
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  • Stimson, James
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