Cross-Cutting Messages and Political Tolerance: An Experiment Using Evangelical Protestants
- 414 Downloads
Democratic theorists believe that exposure to rationales for conflicting views augments deliberation and tolerance. Evidence suggests that people are more tolerant of opposing groups after being exposed to alternative points of view, yet it is unclear how source credibility and previous exposure to the source moderates this effect. Using experimental survey data from a sample of evangelical Protestant PAC donors, I manipulate Christian Right activists’ exposure to dissonant messages on immigration reform and capital punishment and vary the source of these messages. I find that when the opposing viewpoints are attributed to a religious leader generally found outside the Christian Right social movement (a mainline Protestant), evangelicals are less tolerant than when attributed to a religious leader sometimes found within the movement (a Catholic). Moreover, I find the amount of contact with the respective religious group moderates source effects. In this way, the study reveals how social networks may moderate the effect of elite discourse on public opinion.
KeywordsPolitical tolerance Deliberation Source credibility Social networks Religion
I thank Paul A. Djupe, Kimberly A. Gross, Jonathan McDonald Ladd, Clyde Wilcox and several anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago, IL.
- Ackerman, B. A., & Fishkin, J. S. (2004). Deliberation day. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Allport, G. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Inc.Google Scholar
- Amir, Y. (1976). The role of intergroup contact in change of prejudice and ethnic relations. In P. A. Katz (Ed.), Towards the elimination of racism (pp. 245–308). Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
- Arendt, H. (1961/1968). Between past and future: Eight exercises in political thought (Enl. ed.). New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
- Campbell, D. E., & Robinson, C. (2007). Religious coalitions for and against gay marriage: The culture war rages on. In C. Rimmerman & C. Wilcox (Eds.), The politics of same-sex marriage (pp. 131–154). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Dillman, D. A. (2007). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- Djupe, P. A., Sokhey, A. E., & Calfano B. R. (2008). Religious authority, social priming, and support for civil liberties. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
- Druckman, J. N. (2001). On the limits of framing effects: Who can frame. Journal of Politics, 63, 1041–1066.Google Scholar
- Eisenstein, M. E. (2008). Religion and the politics of tolerance: How Christianity builds democracy. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.Google Scholar
- Farrar, C., Fishkin, J., Green, D. P., List, C., Luskin, R. C., & Paluck, E. L. (2010). Disaggregating deliberation’s effects: An experiment within a Deliberative Poll. British Journal of Political Science. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=JPS&volumeId=-1&issueId=-1.
- Fishkin, J. S. (1991). Democracy and deliberation: New directions for democratic reform. New Have, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- George, T. (1994). Catholics and evangelicals in the trenches. Christianity Today, May 16.Google Scholar
- Goodstein, L. (2005). Schiavo case highlights an alliance between Catholics and Evangelicals. The New York Times, March 24, A20.Google Scholar
- Green, J. C., Conger, K. H., & Guth, J. L. (2007). Agents of value: Christian Right activists in 2004. In J. C. Green, M. J. Rozell, & C. Wilcox (Eds.), The values campaign? The Christian Right and the 2004 elections (pp. 22–55). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
- Herberg, W. (1955/1983). Protestant–Catholic–Jew: An essay in American Religious Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Hunter, J. D. (1991). Culture wars: The struggle to define America. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Iyengar, S., & Kinder, D. (1987). New that matters: Television and American opinion. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
- Kam, C. D., & Franzese, R. J., Jr. (2007). Modeling and interpreting interactive hypotheses in regression analysis. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Leege, D. C., & Kellstedt, L. A. (Eds.). (1993). Rediscovering the religious factor in American politics. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
- Marcus, G. E., Sullivan, J. L., Theiss-Morse, E., & Wood, S. L. (1995). With malice toward some: How people make civil liberties judgments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Mendelberg, T. (2002). The deliberative citizen: Theory and evidence. Political Decision Making, Deliberation and Participation, 6, 151–193.Google Scholar
- Miller, J. M., & Krosnick, J. A. (2000). News media impact on the ingredients of presidential evaluations: Politically knowledgeable citizens are guided by a trusted source. American Journal of Political Science, 44, 295–309.Google Scholar
- Noll, M., & Nystrom, C. (2005). Is the reformation over? An evangelical assessment of Catholicism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.Google Scholar
- Reich, C., & Purbhoo, M. (1975). The effects of cross-cultural contact. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 7, 313–327.Google Scholar
- Risen, J. L., & Thomas, J. (1998). Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War. New York: Perseus Publishing.Google Scholar
- Robinson, C. (2008). Doctrine, discussion and disagreement: Evangelical Protestants and Catholics in American politics. Doctoral dissertation, Georgetown University.Google Scholar
- Ruby, R., & Pond, A. (2007). An enduring majority: Americans continue to support the death penalty, December 19. http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=272. Accessed 3 June 2009.
- Smidt, C. E., Kellstedt, L. A., & Guth, J. L. (2008). The role of religion in American politics: Explanatory theories and associated analytical and measurement issues. In C. E. Smidt, J. A. Guth, & L. A. Kellstedt (Eds.), Oxford handbook on religion and American politics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Smith, G. A. (2006). Attitudes toward immigration: In the pulpit and the pew, April 26. http://pewresearch.org/pubs/20/attitudes-toward-immigration-in-the-pulpit-and-the-pew. Accessed 22 August 2007.
- Stouffer, S. (1955). Communism, conformity, and civil liberties. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
- Tajfel, H. (1978). Differentiation between social groups: Studies in the social psychology of intergroup relations. London, New York: Published in cooperation with European Association of Experimental Social Psychology by Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of inter-group behavior. In S. Worchel & L. W. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.Google Scholar
- Wilcox, C., & Robinson, C. (2011). Onward Christian soldiers? The Christian Right in American politics. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Wilcox, C., Rozell, M. J., & Gunn, R. (1996). Religious coalitions in the new Christian Right. Social Science Quarterly, 77(3), 543–558.Google Scholar
- Wuthnow, R. (1990). The restructuring of American religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Zaller, J. R. (1992). The nature and origins of mass opinion. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar