When is Changing Policy Positions Costly for Politicians? Experimental Evidence

When is Changing Policy Positions Costly for Politicians? Experimental Evidence Although changing policy positions is often thought of as costly for politicians, this may not always be the case. We present findings from two survey experiments designed to assess how people respond to politicians who change positions on an issue. We examine the direct effects of position changes on both summary evaluations of a candidate and ratings of a candidate’s character. We find that the effect of changing positions varies across issues and that the passage of time attenuates the negative effects of a change of position. We also find that although individual voters prefer a candidate who moves closer to their own preferred policy position to one who sticks to a disliked policy position, in the aggregate changing policy positions may be costly unless the prospective new position is supported by a supermajority of the public. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

When is Changing Policy Positions Costly for Politicians? Experimental Evidence

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-015-9321-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Although changing policy positions is often thought of as costly for politicians, this may not always be the case. We present findings from two survey experiments designed to assess how people respond to politicians who change positions on an issue. We examine the direct effects of position changes on both summary evaluations of a candidate and ratings of a candidate’s character. We find that the effect of changing positions varies across issues and that the passage of time attenuates the negative effects of a change of position. We also find that although individual voters prefer a candidate who moves closer to their own preferred policy position to one who sticks to a disliked policy position, in the aggregate changing policy positions may be costly unless the prospective new position is supported by a supermajority of the public.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 26, 2015

References

  • Sex and race: Are black candidates more likely to be disadvantaged by sex scandals?
    Berinsky, AJ; Hutchings, VL; Mendelberg, T; Shaker, L; Valentino, NA

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