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Does Social Disagreement Attenuate Partisan Motivated Reasoning? A Test Case Concerning Economic Evaluations

  • Joshua Robison (a1)
Abstract

Research on partisan motivated reasoning shows that citizens perceive the world differently based upon their partisan allegiances. Here we marshal evidence from several national surveys to investigate whether partisan motivated reasoning is attenuated among partisans situated within disagreeable political discussion networks. While our analyses suggest that exposure to interpersonal disagreement is associated with weaker partisan identities, we find limited evidence that disagreement attenuates partisan differences in knowledge or retrospective evaluations of the economy. This suggests that interpersonal disagreement is unlikely to help reduce partisan motivated reasoning. Our results thus speak to important debates concerning the influence of social discussion on political attitudes, the nature of partisan motivated reasoning and the ability of citizens to hold elites accountable.

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*Corresponding author. Email: jrobison@ps.au.dk
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