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Homer Gets a Warm Hug: A Note on Ignorance and Extenuation

  • Larry M. Bartels (a1)

Lupia, Levine, Menning, and Sin show that well-informed Republicans and conservatives were highly supportive of the 2001 Bush tax cut. They mistakenly infer that this fact invalidates my claim in “Homer Gets a Tax Cut” that “the strong plurality support” for the tax cut was “entirely attributable to simple ignorance.” Their analysis, like mine, implies that a fully-informed public would have been lukewarm, at best, toward the tax cut. They have little to say about why this is the case, beyond insisting that “citizens have reasons for the opinions they have.” I suggest that citizens' “reasons” are sometimes misleading, misinformed, or substantively irrational, and that social science should not be limited to “attempts to better fit our analyses into their rationales.”Larry M. Bartels is the Donald E. Stokes Professor of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (

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Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
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