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Value Conflict, Group Affect, and the Issue of Campaign Finance

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The issue of campaign finance reform creates a potential conflict between the democratic values of expression and equality. Using a unique experiment embedded in a national survey of the American electorate, we examine the extent to which group affect influences citizens' commitment to these values and how it contributes to the resolution of value conflict. We find that citizens' commitment to the values of expression and equality in the campaign finance system is structured by their feelings toward those whose rights and influence are perceived to be at stake. Our analysis further shows that the effects of group affect are conditioned by issue frame. The effects of group affect are less pronounced when campaign finance is framed as an issue of political expression and rights than when it is framed in terms of political equality and influence. Finally, we find that affective information contributes to the resolution of value conflict by helping citizens to make tradeoffs between competing values in judgment situations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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