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Framing and Deliberation: How Citizens' Conversations Limit Elite Influence

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Public opinion research demonstrates that citizens' opinions depend on elite rhetoric and interpersonal conversations. Yet, we continue to have little idea about how these two forces interact with one another. In this article, we address this issue by experimentally examining how interpersonal conversations affect (prior) elite framing effects. We find that conversations that include only common perspectives have no effect on elite framing, but conversations that include conflicting perspectives eliminate elite framing effects. We also introduce a new individual level moderator of framing effects—called “need to evaluate”—and we show that framing effects, in general, tend to be short-lived phenomena. In the end, we clarify when elites can and cannot use framing to influence public opinion and how interpersonal conversations affect this process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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