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Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics


Photo Credit (top image): Joshua Woroniecki / Pixabay 


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Diana C. MutzWinners and Losers: The Psychology of Foreign Trade. 2021. Princeton. Princeton University Press.

cover of Winners and Losers by Diana Mutz

Winners and Losers challenges conventional wisdom about how American citizens form opinions on international trade. While dominant explanations in economics emphasize personal self-interest—and whether individuals gain or lose financially as a result of trade—this book takes a psychological approach, demonstrating how people view the complex world of international trade through the lens of interpersonal relations.

Drawing on psychological theories of preference formation as well as original surveys and experiments, Diana Mutz finds that in contrast to the economic view of trade as cooperation for mutual benefit, many Americans view trade as a competition between the United States and other countries—a contest of us versus them. These people favor trade as long as they see Americans as the “winners” in these interactions, viewing trade as a way to establish dominance over foreign competitors. For others, trade is a means of maintaining more peaceful relations between countries. Just as individuals may exchange gifts to cement relationships, international trade is a tie that binds nations together in trust and cooperation.

Winners and Losers reveals how people’s orientations toward in-groups and out-groups play a central role in influencing how they think about trade with foreign countries, and shows how a better understanding of the psychological underpinnings of public opinion can lead to lasting economic and societal benefits.

Diana C. MutzIn Your Face Politics: The Consequences of Incivility. 2015. Princeton. Princeton University Press.

Cover of "In-Your-Face Politics" by Diana C. Mutz

Americans are disgusted with watching politicians screaming and yelling at one another on television. But does all the noise really make a difference? Drawing on numerous studies, Diana Mutz provides the first comprehensive look at the consequences of in-your-face politics. Her book contradicts the conventional wisdom by documenting both the benefits and the drawbacks of in-your-face media.

“In-your-face” politics refers to both the level of incivility and the up-close and personal way that we experience political conflict on television. Just as actual physical closeness intensifies people’s emotional reactions to others, the appearance of closeness on a video screen has similar effects. We tend to keep our distance from those with whom we disagree. Modern media, however, puts those we dislike in our faces in a way that intensifies our negative reactions. Mutz finds that incivility is particularly detrimental to facilitating respect for oppositional political viewpoints and to citizens’ levels of trust in politicians and the political process. On the positive side, incivility and close-up camera perspectives contribute to making politics more physiologically arousing and entertaining to viewers. This encourages more attention to political programs, stimulates recall of the content, and encourages people to relay content to others.


Winner of the 2016 David O. Sears Book Award, International Society of Political Psychology

Winner of the 2017 Doris Graber Outstanding Book Award, Political Communication Section of the American Political Science Association

Finalist for the 2015 Frank Luther Mott-Kappa Tau Alpha Journalism and Mass Communication Research Award

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2015

Seth K. Goldman and Diana C. MutzThe Obama Effect: How the 2008 Campaign Changed White Racial Attitudes. 2014. New York. Russell Sage Foundation Press.

Cover of "The Obama Effect"

Barack Obama’s historic 2008 campaign exposed many white Americans more than ever before to a black individual who defied negative stereotypes. While Obama’s politics divided voters, Americans uniformly perceived Obama as highly successful, intelligent, and charismatic. What effect, if any, did the innumerable images of Obama and his family have on racial attitudes among whites? In The Obama Effect, Seth K. Goldman and Diana C. Mutz uncover persuasive evidence that white racial prejudice toward blacks significantly declined during the Obama campaign. Their innovative research rigorously examines how racial attitudes form, and whether they can be changed for the better.

The Obama Effect draws from a survey of 20,000 people, whom the authors interviewed up to five times over the course of a year. This panel survey sets the volume apart from most research on racial attitudes. From the summer of 2008 through Obama’s inauguration in 2009, there was a gradual but clear trend toward lower levels of white prejudice against blacks. Goldman and Mutz argue that these changes occurred largely without people’s conscious awareness. Instead, as Obama became increasingly prominent in the media, he emerged as an “exemplar” that countered negative stereotypes in the minds of white Americans. Unfortunately, this change in attitudes did not last. By 2010, racial prejudice among whites had largely returned to pre-2008 levels. Mutz and Goldman argue that news coverage of Obama declined substantially after his election, allowing other, more negative images of African Americans to re-emerge in the media. The Obama Effect arrives at two key conclusions: Racial attitudes can change even within relatively short periods of time, and how African Americans are portrayed in the mass media affects how they change.


Winner of the 2015 Frank Luther Mott - Kappa Tau Alpha Journalism & Mass Communication Research Award

Diana C. Mutz. Population-Based Survey Experiments. 2011. Princeton. Princeton University Press.

Photo of the book cover of "Population-Based Survey Experiments"

Population-based survey experiments have become an invaluable tool for social scientists struggling to generalize laboratory-based results, and for survey researchers besieged by uncertainties about causality. Thanks to technological advances in recent years, experiments can now be administered to random samples of the population to which a theory applies. Yet until now, there was no self-contained resource for social scientists seeking a concise and accessible overview of this methodology, its strengths and weaknesses, and the unique challenges it poses for implementation and analysis.

Drawing on examples from across the social sciences, this book covers everything you need to know to plan, implement, and analyze the results of population-based survey experiments. But it is more than just a “how to” manual. This lively book challenges conventional wisdom about internal and external validity, showing why strong causal claims need not come at the expense of external validity, and how it is now possible to execute experiments remotely using large-scale population samples.

Diana C. Mutz. Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative Versus Participatory Democracy. 2006. New York. Cambridge University Press.

Photo of the book cover "Hearing the Other Side"

‘Religion and politics,’ as the old saying goes, ‘should never be discussed in mixed company.’ And yet fostering discussions that cross lines of political difference has long been a central concern of political theorists. More recently, it has also become a cause célèbre for pundits and civic-minded citizens wanting to improve the health of American democracy. But only recently have scholars begun empirical investigations of where and with what consequences people interact with those whose political views differ from their own. Hearing the Other Side examines this theme in the context of the contemporary United States. It is unique in its effort to link political theory with empirical research. Drawing on her empirical work, Mutz suggests that it is doubtful that an extremely activist political culture can also be a heavily deliberative one.


Winner of the 2007 Goldsmith Prize by Harvard University

Winner of the 2007 Robert Lane Prize for the Best Book in Political Psychology by the American Political Science Association

Diana C. Mutz. Impersonal Influence: How Perceptions of Mass Collectives Affect Political Attitudes. 1998. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.

Photo of "Impersonal Influence: How Perceptions of Mass Collectives Affect Political Attitudes" book cover

Impersonal influence is about how people are affected by their perceptions of the collective opinions or experiences of others--things such as the well-publicized results of opinion polls (in the case of others' opinions), or media's coverage of the collective experiences of others (such as the extent to which others are experiencing financial problems or are being victimized by crimes). Media content is particularly well suited to serving as a credible channel of information about large-scale collective phenomena. Coverage of the collective opinions (in the case of perceptions of social problems such as crime or unemployment) alters people's political attitudes in surprising, yet subtle ways. These kinds of effects have important implications for the quality of public opinion and the accountability of political leaders in a mass mediated democracy.


Winner of the 1999 Robert Lane Prize for the Best Book in Political Psychology by the American Political Science Association

Winner of the 2004 Doris Graber Prize for Most Influential Book on Political Communication published in the last ten years

Journal Articles

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Diana C. Mutz and Beth Simmons. 2022. The psychology of separation: Border walls, soft power, and international neighborliness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 119 

This study assesses the impact of international border walls on evaluations of countries and on beliefs about bilateral relationships between states. Using a short video, we experimentally manipulate whether a border wall image appears in a broader description of the history and culture of a little-known country. In a third condition, we also indicate which bordering country built the wall. Demographically representative samples from the United States, Ireland, and Turkey responded similarly to these experimental treatments. Compared to a control group, border walls lowered evaluations of the bordering countries. They also signified hostile international relationships to third-party observers. Furthermore, the government of the country responsible for building the wall was evaluated especially negatively. Reactions were consistent regardless of people’s predispositions toward walls in their domestic political context. Our findings have important implications for a country’s attractiveness, or “soft power,” an important component of nonmilitary influence in international relations.


Diana C. Mutz. 2019. The Real Reason Liberals Drink Lattes. PS: Political Science and Politics. 51: 762-767

Are liberals truly more likely to drink lattes than conservatives? In this study, we first use a representative national survey to address this unanswered question. On confirmation, we examine three hypotheses about why this relationship exists. Our results led to a fundamental reinterpretation of what it means to be a “latte liberal.”

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Diana C. Mutz. 2019. Attitudes Toward Economic Inequality: The Illusory Agreement. Political Science Research and Methods. 7: 835-851

Recent studies of attitudes toward economic inequality suggest that most people around the world prefer very low levels of inequality, despite well-known trends toward greater inequality within many countries. Even within countries, people across the political spectrum are said to be in remarkable agreement about the ideal level of economic inequality. Using survey data from 40 countries and a novel survey experiment in the United States, we show that this apparent agreement is illusory. When relying on a widely used cross-national survey measure of Ideal Pay Ratios, preferred levels of inequality are heavily influenced by two well-documented sources of perceptual distortion: the anchoring effect and ratio bias. These effects are substantial and many times larger than the influence of fundamental political predispositions. As a result, these cross-national survey measures tapping preferences regarding economic inequality produce misleading conclusions about desired levels of inequality.


Diana C. Mutz. 2019. Changing Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Marriage: A Three-Wave Panel Study. Political Behavior. 41: 701–722

Opinions toward gay marriage, also known as same-sex marriage, have become dramatically more favorable in the last 20 years. Given the more accepting attitudes of younger Americans, generational replacement is one widely noted engine of change. However, the pace of shifts in public attitudes has been too rapid for this to be the sole explanation. Identifying other causes of increasing support has been difficult due to reliance on cross-sectional associations. Using nationally representative panel data from 2008 to 2016, we test three potential explanations for changes in public attitudes toward gay marriage. Our findings suggest that increased interpersonal contact with gays and lesbians, declining religiosity, and increasing levels of education in the U.S. all contributed to the rise in public support for same-sex marriage.


Diana C. Mutz and Andrew Daniller. 2019. The Dynamics of Electoral Integrity: A Three Election Panel Study. Public Opinion Quarterly. 83: 46-67

When political leaders are chosen by democratic means, the electoral process supposedly legitimates their authority, whatever the outcome. Nonetheless, disliked democratic outcomes may result instead in denigration of the electoral process. If positive reactions to winning and negative reactions to losing ultimately balance one another out, then perceived electoral integrity should remain roughly constant in a highly competitive political environment such as the United States. However, little is known about the symmetry or duration of these effects. Using panel data spanning more than nine years, we examine individual perceptions of electoral integrity across three American presidential election cycles. Our conclusions suggest that the effects of winning versus losing are not symmetric. Moreover, effects on people’s perceptions of electoral integrity are surprisingly persistent over time. We find that repeated losing has especially important long-term consequences for how citizens view elections.

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Diana C. Mutz. 2019. Effects of the Great Recession on American Attitudes toward Trade. British Journal of Political Science. 49: 37-58

Did the American public become more protectionist during the Great Recession of 2007-2009? If so, why? During this period, many observers expressed concern that rising unemployment would stimulate protectionist pressures. Our results indicate that although increased unemployment did not have an across-the board effect on trade preferences, individuals working in import-competing industries who lost their jobs during the Great Recession did grow more hostile to trade. However, even greater rising hostility to overseas commerce stemmed from a variety of non-material factors. Increasing ethnocentrism and opposition to involvement in world affairs between 2007 and 2009 help to account for growing antipathy toward trade. Further, increasing concern that foreign commerce would harm people in the future, even if it had not done so thus far, contributed to growing opposition to trade among the American public during the economic downturn.


Diana C. Mutz. 2018. Status Threat, Not Economic Hardship, Explains the 2016 Presidential Vote. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 115

This study evaluates evidence pertaining to popular narratives explaining the American public’s support for Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. First, using unique representative probability samples of the American public, tracking the same individuals from 2012 to 2016, I examine the “left behind” thesis (that is, the theory that those who lost jobs or experienced stagnant wages due to the loss of manufacturing jobs punished the incumbent party for their economic misfortunes). Second, I consider the possibility that status threat felt by the dwindling proportion of traditionally high-status Americans (i.e. whites, Christians, and men) as well as by those who perceive America’s global dominance as threatened combined to increase support for the candidate who emphasized reestablishing status hierarchies of the past. Results do not support an interpretation of the election based on pocketbook economic concerns. Instead, the shorter relative distance of people’s own views from the Republican candidate on trade and China corresponded to greater mass support for Trump in 2016 relative to Mitt Romney in 2012. Candidate preferences in 2016 reflected increasing anxiety among high-status groups rather than complaints about past treatment among low-status groups. Both growing domestic racial diversity and globalization contributed to a sense that white Americans are under siege by these engines of change.



Daniel J. Hopkins and Eunji Kim. 2018. The Exaggerated Life of Death Panels? The Limited but Real Influence of Elite Rhetoric in the 2009–2010 Health Care Debate.  Political Behavior. 40: 681-709

Experiments demonstrate that elites can influence public opinion through framing. Yet outside laboratories or surveys, real-world constraints are likely to limit elites’ ability to reshape public opinion. Additionally, it is difficult to distinguish framing from related processes empirically. This paper uses the 2009–2010 health care debate, coupled with automated content analyses of elite- and mass-level language, to study real-world framing effects. Multiple empirical tests uncover limited but real evidence of elite influence. The language Americans use to explain their opinions proves generally stable, although there is also evidence that the public adopts the language of both parties’ elites symmetrically. Elite rhetoric does not appear to have strong effects on Americans’ overall evaluations of health care reform, but it can influence the reasons they provide for their evaluations. Methodologically, the automated analysis of elite rhetoric and open-ended questions shows promise in distinguishing framing from other communication effects and illuminating elite-mass interactions.


Bert N. Bakker and Yphtach Lelkes. 2018. Selling Ourselves Short? How Abbreviated Measures of Personality Change the Way We Think about Personality and Politics. Journal of Politics. 80

Political scientists who study the interplay between personality and politics overwhelmingly rely on short personality scales. We explore whether the length of the employed personality scales affects the criterion validity of the scales. We show that need for cognition (NfC) increases reliance on party cues, but only when a longer measure is employed. Additionally, while NfC increases reliance on policy information, the effect is more than twice as large when a longer measure is used. Finally, Big Five personality traits that have been dismissed as irrelevant to political ideology yield stronger and more consistent associations when larger batteries are employed. We also show that using high Cronbach’s alpha and factor loadings as indicators of scale quality does not improve the criterion validity of brief measures. Hence, the measurement of personality conditions the conclusions we draw about the role of personality in politics.


Sean Jeremy Westwood, Solomon Messing, and Yphtach Lelkes. 2018. Projecting Confidence: How the Probabilistic Horse Race Confuses and Demobilizes the Public. SSRN

Horse race coverage in American elections has shifted focus from late-breaking poll numbers to sophisticated meta analytic forecasts that often emphasize candidates' probability of victory. We place this “probabilistic horeserace” in the context of Riker and Ordeshook (1968), and hypothesize that it will lower uncertainty about an election's outcome (perceived potential pivotality), which lowers turnout under the model. After demonstrating the prominence of probabilistic forecasts in election coverage, we use experiments to show that the public has difficulty reasoning about the probability of a candidate’s victory. Critically, when one candidate is ahead, win-probabilities convey substantially more confidence that she will win compared to vote share estimates. Even more importantly, we show that these impressions of probabilistic forecasts cause people not to vote in a behavioral game that simulates elections. In the context of the existing literature, the magnitude of these findings suggests that probabilistic horse race coverage can confuse and demobilize the public.


Damon Centola, Joshua Becker, Devon Brackbill, and Andrea Baronchelli. 2018. Experimental Evidence for Tipping Points in Social Convention. Science. 360: 1116-1119

Theoretical models of critical mass have shown how minority groups can initiate social change dynamics in the emergence of new social conventions. Here, we study an artificial system of social conventions in which human subjects interact to establish a new coordination equilibrium. The findings provide direct empirical demonstration of the existence of a tipping point in the dynamics of changing social conventions. When minority groups reached the critical mass — that is, the critical group size for initiating social change — they were consistently able to overturn the established behavior. The size of the required critical mass is expected to vary based on theoretically identifiable features of a social setting. Our results show that the theoretically predicted dynamics of critical mass do in fact emerge as expected within an empirical system of social coordination.


Maria Repnikova and Kecheng Fang. 2018. Authoritarian Participatory Persuasion 2.0: Netizens as Thought Work Collaborators in China. Journal of Contemporary China. 27: 763-779

In the reform era, management of information by the Chinese Communist Party has been continuously moving away from explicit, crude tactics of the past toward more subtle and orderly mechanisms of the present. This study examines one facet of this transformation in the online sphere: digital persuasion. Drawing on three emerging trends in online persuasion, including official digital revamping of state media, expansion of government Weibo, and official promotion of patriotic bloggers, the authors explain how online persuasion is taking on an increasingly participatory form under President Xi. Specifically, the conceptualization of ‘authoritarian participatory persuasion 2.0’ includes direct co-production of persuasion, with netizens called to repost, share and create content, as well as the indirect participation, whereby netizens are invited to partake in the life of the top leader, Xi Jinping, and to consume exclusive practical tips provided by the state. The participatory digital persuasion, whereas intended to facilitate public complicity with the regime, has also opened up spaces for satire and ‘incivility’ unmasking and challenging the state’s covert propaganda practices.


Diana C. Mutz. 2018. Response to Morgan: On the Role of Status Threat and Material Interests in the 2016 Election. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World. 4: 1-11

I am delighted to have the opportunity to respond to Morgan’s article, which is a critique of my recent publication (Mutz 2018). I will restrict my response to matters concerning the data and analysis, excluding issues such as whether the journal PNAS is appropriately named (Morgan this issue:3) as well as Morgan’s views about how this work was covered in various media outlets (Morgan this issue:3–6). These issues are less important than whether material self-interest or status threat motivated Trump supporters.


Mara-Cecilia Ostfeld. 2017. Unity Versus Uniformity: Effects of Targeted Advertising on Perceptions of Group Politics

While a great deal of attention has been paid to how political media can divide and polarize politicized groups in the U.S., little is understood about its effects within those groups. In this study, I use a population based survey experiment to explore whether targeted political media are affecting two factors associated with political voice – perceptions of political homogeneity and perceptions of political power. Drawing on theories from social psychology, I outline and test a set of theoretical predictions to explore this relationship in the context of Spanish-language political ads. The results suggest that Spanish-language political ads do, in fact, increase perceptions of collective political power among Latinos, but not in a way that unequivocally promote perceptions of political homogeneity. In doing so, the findings provide some of the first evidence of a causal relationship between targeted political media and perceptions of targeted political groups.


Diana C. Mutz and Eunji Kim. 2017. Impact of In-group Favoritism on Trade Preferences.  International Organization. 71: 827-850

Using a population-based survey experiment, this study evaluates the role of in-group favoritism in influencing American attitudes toward international trade. By systematically altering which countries gain or lose from a given trade policy (Americans and/or people in trading partner countries), we vary the role that in-group favoritism should play in influencing preferences.

Our results provide evidence of two distinct forms of in-group favoritism. The first, and least surprising, is that Americans value the well-being of other Americans more than that of people outside their own country. Rather than maximize total gains, Americans choose policies that maximize in-group well-being. This tendency is exacerbated by a sense of national superiority; Americans favor their national in-group to a greater extent if they perceive Americans to be more deserving.

Second, high levels of perceived intergroup competition lead some Americans to prefer trade policies that benefit the in-group and hurt the out-group over policies that help both their own country and the trading partner country. For a policy to elicit support, it is important not only that the US benefits, but also that the trading partner country loses so that the US achieves a greater relative advantage. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding bipartisan public opposition to trade.


Daniel J. Hopkins, Eunji Kim, and Soojong Kim. 2017. Does Newspaper Coverage Influence or Reflect Public Perceptions of the Economy? Research & Politics

Citizens’ economic perceptions can shape their political and economic behavior, making the origins of those perceptions an important question. Research commonly posits that media coverage is a central source. Here, we test that prospect while considering the alternative hypothesis that media coverage instead echoes public perceptions. This paper applies a straightforward automated measure of the tone of economic coverage to 490, 039 articles from 24 national and local media outlets over more than three decades. By matching the 245, 947 survey respondents in the Survey of Consumer Attitudes and Behavior to measures of contemporaneous media coverage, we can assess the sequencing of changes in media coverage and public perceptions. Together, these data illustrate that newspaper coverage does not systematically precede public perceptions of the economy, a finding which analyses of television transcripts reinforce. Neither national nor local newspapers appear to strongly influence economic perceptions.


Yphtach Lelkes, Gaurav Sood, and Shanto Iyengar. 2017. The Hostile Audience: The Effect of Access to Broadband Internet on Partisan Affect American Journal of Political Science

Over the last two decades, as the number of media choices available to consumers has exploded, so too have worries over self‐selection into media audiences. Some fear greater apathy, others heightened polarization. In this article, we shed light on the latter possibility. We identify the impact of access to broadband Internet on affective polarization by exploiting differences in broadband availability brought about by variation in state right‐of‐way regulations (ROW). We merge state‐level regulation data with county‐level broadband penetration data and a large‐N sample of survey data from 2004 to 2008 and find that access to broadband Internet increases partisan hostility. The effect occurs in both years and is stable across levels of political interest. We also find that access to broadband Internet boosts partisans' consumption of partisan media, a likely cause of increased polarization.


Diana C. Mutz, Robin Pemantle, and Philip Pham. 2017. The Perils of Balance Testing in Experimental Design: Messy Analyses of Clean Data

Widespread concern over the credibility of published results has led to scrutiny of statistical practices. We address one aspect of this problem that stems from the use of balance tests in conjunction with experimental data. When random assignment is botched, due either to mistakes in implementation or differential attrition, balance tests can be an important tool in determining whether to treat the data as observational versus experimental. Unfortunately the use of balance tests has become commonplace in analyses of “clean” data, that is, data for which random assignment can be stipulated. Here, we show that balance tests can destroy the basis on which scientific conclusions are formed, and can lead to erroneous and even fraudulent conclusions. We conclude by advocating that scientists and journal editors resist the use of balance tests in all analyses of clean data.


Andrew Daniller, Douglas Allen, Ashley Tallevi, and Diana C. Mutz. 2017. Measuring Trust in the Press in a Changing Media Environment. Communication Methods And Measures. 11

The only long term trend data on trust in the American press comes from the General Social Survey (GSS). The erosion of trust in the press as measured by the GSS indicator is indisputable, but its implications for the functioning of American democracy depend on what, precisely, is being measured. In this study we use an experimental design embedded in a representative national probability sample to shed light on what people are thinking of when they say they trust or distrust the American press. Are they thinking about the sources they themselves use for news? The sources that are most popular with the population at large? An average of all possible media sources? We find that individuals express much greater trust in the press when they are asked to consider specific news sources than when they are asked to evaluate a generic news media. Our results suggest that an accessibility bias combined with the proliferation of news sources in recent years may lead individuals to think of distrusted sources when asked to answer generic media trust questions. We therefore argue that different measurement strategies are needed to successfully address trust in the press in the current news environment.


Rasmus T. Pedersen. 2016. Ratio Bias and Policy Preferences: How Equivalency Framing of Numbers Can Affect Attitudes Political Psychology

Numbers permeate modern political communication. While current scholarship on framing effects has focused on the persuasive effects of words and arguments, this article shows that framing of numbers can also substantially affect policy preferences. Such effects are caused by ratio bias, which is a general tendency to focus on numerators and pay insufficient attention to denominators in ratios. Using a population-based survey experiment, I demonstrate how differently framed but logically equivalent representations of the exact same numerical value can have large effects on citizens’ preferences regarding salient political issues such as education and taxes. Furthermore, the effects of numerical framing are found across most groups of the population, largely regardless of their political predisposition and their general ability to understand and use numerical information. These findings have significant implications for our understanding of framing effects and the role played by numbers in public opinion formation.


2016. Divisive Campaigning Damages Democracy World View


Andrew M. Daniller. 2016. Can Citizens Care Too Much? Investment in Election Outcomes and Perceptions of Electoral Legitimacy

Might there be a downside to citizen engagement with elections? The tendency for citizens who supported a winning candidate or party to be more supportive of the democratic system and more trusting of government than supporters of the losers has been well documented. I test the extent to which individual-level investment in a presidential election campaign amplifies effects of winning or losing using the online component of the 2008 NAES to track the same individuals' from pre-election to postelection. The analysis provides strong evidence of amplifying effects of investment on the relationship between winning or losing and perceptions of electoral legitimacy. Certain types of investment policy agreement and participation appear to hold significant implications only for losers and not winners.


Diana C. Mutz. 2016. Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald.  PS: Political Science and Politics. 49

Few empirical studies suggest that fictional stories can influence political opinions. Nonetheless, this study demonstrates the relevance of Harry Potter consumption- whether reading Harry Potter books or viewing Harry Potter movies-to attitudes toward Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in 2016. Using multivariate models and panel data from 2014 to 2016, results suggest that the lessons of the Harry Potter series have influenced public reactions to Donald Trump as well as to support for punitive policies and tolerance of groups considered by some to be outside the American mainstream.


Diana C. Mutz and Robin Pemantle. 2015. Standards for Experimental Research: Encouraging a Better Understanding of Experimental Methods.  Journal of Experimental Political Science. 2: 192-215


Edward Mansfield, Diana C. Mutz, and Laura Silver. 2015. Men, Women, Trade and Free Markets. International Studies Quarterly. 59: 303--315

In this paper, we provide one of the first systematic analyses of gender’s effect on trade attitudes. We draw on a unique representative national survey of American workers that allows us to evaluate a variety of potential explanations for gen- der differences in attitudes toward free trade and open markets more generally. We find that existing explanations for the gender gap, most notably differences between men and women in economic knowledge and differing material self- interests, do not explain the gap. Rather, the gender difference in trade preferences and attitudes about open markets is due to less favorable attitudes toward competition among women, less willingness to relocate for jobs among women, and more isolationist non-economic foreign policy attitudes among women.


Mara Ostfeld and Diana C. Mutz. 2014. Revisiting the Effects of Case Reports in the News. Political Communication. 31: 53--72

Synthesizing several theories about the likely impact of case reports in the news, we propose that the impact of featuring identified victims in a news story is contingent on the degree of similarity between the audience member and the identified victims. We execute a population-based survey experiment involving immigration policy to examine our theory. Our results suggest that featuring specific, identified victims in a news story will promote more supportive policy opinions than otherwise identical stories about unidentified victims, but only when the victim is highly similar to the audience member. Conversely, case reports featuring identified people who are dissimilar to the audience member will decrease the extent to which the story encourages victim-supportive policy attitudes. Overall, our experimental findings shed light on the conditions under which the inclusion of case reports increases versus decreases the policy relevance of news stories. Our findings also help explain previous inconsistencies in findings about the impact of case reports. Additional analyses allow us to speculate as to the reasons for the differential direction of effects.


Edward Mansfield and Diana C. Mutz. 2013. US vs. Them: Mass Attitudes toward Offshore Outsourcing. World Politics. 65: 571--608

This study shows that perceptions of national superiority are both manipulable and effective in promoting opposition to outsourcing.


Diana C. Mutz. 2013. Reflections on Hearing the Other Side, in Theory and in Practice. Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society. 25: 260--276

THE AUTHOR OF HEARING THE OTHER SIDE REFLECTS: In response to my book’s finding that there is a tradeoff between two apparently desirable traits — a propensity to participate in politics, on the one hand, and to expose oneself to disagreeable political ideas, on the other — symposium participants suggest a number of reasons why this tradeoff should not trouble participatory democratic theorists. One argument is that electoral advocacy (the type of participation I measure) is not an important form of participation anyway, so we are better off without it. However, those people who do not vote also tend not to participate in politics in other ways, so electoral advocacy is the lowest possible bar for defining participation. Partisans are also more likely to be well informed and to offer coherent reasons for their political preferences. A second argument suggests that deliberative theorists have somewhat contradictory views of social influence, encouraging it in the context of deliberative encounters but perceiving it as pernicious when members of political parties influence their members. A third response is to posit a division of labor between closed-minded partisan advocates and open-minded people who are exposed to cross-cutting debate. However, it is difficult to see how the benefits of cross-cutting exposure will be conveyed to the advocates who participate in meaningful ways.


Diana C. Mutz. 2012. The Great Divide: Campaign Media in the American Mind. Daedalus. 141: 1--15

There is a huge difference between public perceptions of the power of media in elections and academic evidence of its influence. This gap stems from the fact that the public uses different forms of evi- dence than academics use to infer media power. This essay outlines the reasons for this great divide, then highlights the seriousness of its consequences for the allocation of political resources. Public beliefs in omnipotent media contribute to wasted time and money; ultimately, they undermine the legitimacy of election outcomes. 


Seth K. Goldman and Diana C. Mutz. 2011. The Friendly Media Phenomenon: A Cross-national Analysis of Cross-Cutting Exposure. Political Communication. 28: 42-66


Diana C. Mutz and Lilach Nir. 2010. Not Necessarily the News: Does Fictional Television Influence Real-World Policy Preferences?. Mass Communication and Society. 13: 196-217


Diana C. Mutz. 2010. The Dog That Didn’t Bark: The Role of Canines in the 2008 Presidential Campaign. PS: Political Science and Politics. 43(4): 1--6

Using the most extensive data set available on the 2008 election, Mutz examines the impact of dog ownership on presidential vote preference. Canines were elevated to the status of a campaign issue when, during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama publicly promised his daughters a dog after the election was over, a campaign promise that has since been fulfilled. However, this announcement appears to have unintentionally highlighted the absence of a key point of identification between this candidate and voters, and thus to have significantly undermined the likelihood that dog-owning voters would support Obama. Mutz elaborates on the implications of this finding for future presidential candidates.


Edward Mansfield and Diana C. Mutz. 2009. Support for Free Trade: Self-Interest, Sociotropic Politics, and Out-Group Anxiety. International Organization. 63: 425--457

Although it is widely acknowledged that an understanding of mass attitudes about trade is crucial to the political economy of foreign commerce, only a handful of studies have addressed this topic.  These studies have focused largely on testing two models, both of which emphasize that trade preferences are shaped by how trade affects an individual's income.  The factor endowments or Hecksher-Ohlin model posits that these preferences are affected primarily by a person's skills.  The specific factors or Ricardo-Viner model posits that trade preferences depend on the industry in which a person works.  We find little support for either of thesd two models using two representative national surveys of Americans.  The only potential exception involves the effects of education.  Initial tests indicate that eduational attainment and support for open free trade are directly related, which is often interpreted as support for the Hecksher-Ohlin model.  However, further analysis reveals that education's effects are less representative of skill than of individuals' anxieties about involvement with out-groups in their own country and beyond.  Furthermore, we find strong evidence that trade attitudes are guided less by material self-interest than by perceptions of how the U.S. economy as a whole is affected by trade.


Magdalena Wojcieszak and Diana C. Mutz. 2009. Online Groups and Political Discourse: Do Online Discussion Spaces Facilitate Exposure to Political Disagreement?. Journal of Communication. 59: 40-56

To what extent do online discussion spaces expose participants to political talk and to cross-cutting political views in particular? Drawing on a representative national sample of over 1000 Americans reporting participation in chat rooms or message boards, we examine the types of online discussion spaces that create opportunities for cross-cutting political exchanges. Our findings suggest that the potential for deliberation occurs primarily in online groups where politics comes up only incidentally, but is not the central purpose of the discussion space. We discuss the implications of our findings for the contributions of the Internet to cross-cutting political discourse. 


Diana C. Mutz. 2007. Effects of “In-Your-Face” Television Discourse on Perceptions of a Legitimate Opposition. American Political Science Review. 101: 621-635

How do Americans acquire the impression that their political foes have some understandable basis for their views, and thus represent a legitimate opposition? How do they come to believe that reasonable people may disagree on any given political controversy? Given that few people talk regularly to those of opposing perspectives, some theorize that mass media, and television in particular, serve as an important source of exposure to the rationales for oppositional views. A series of experimental studies suggests that television does, indeed, have the capacity to encourage greater awareness of oppositional perspectives. However, common characteristics of televised political discourse, incivility, and close-up camera perspectives cause audiences to view oppositional perspectives as less legitimate than they would have otherwise. Broader implications of these findings for assessments of the impact of television on the political process, and for the perspective that televised political discourse provides on oppositional political views are discussed. 


Diana C. Mutz and Byron Reeves. 2005. The New Videomalaise: Effects of Televised Incivility on Political Trust. American Political Science Review. 99(1): 1-15

Does incivility in political discourse have adverse effects on public regard for politics? If so, why? In this study we present a theory suggesting that when viewers are exposed to televised political disagreement,it often violates well-established face-to-face social norms for the polite expression of opposing views.As a result, incivility in public discourse affects trust in government.  Drawing on three laboratory experiments, we find that televised presentations of political differences of opinion do not, in and of themsleves, harm attitudes towards politics and politicians.  However, political trust is adversely affected by levels of incivility in these exchanges.  Our findings suggest that the format of much political television effectively promotes viewer interest, but at the expense of political trust.


Working Papers

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Diana C. Mutz, Edward Mansfield, and Eunji Kim. 2017. Effects of Race on Attitudes toward International Trade: Economics or Symbolic Politics?

In multiple representative national surveys of American attitudes toward trade, minorities have been found to hold more favorable attitudes toward international trade than whites.  This finding is puzzling in part because minorities are more likely to experience unemployment than whites.  Moreover, the position of minorities in the national income and education distribution makes them an unlikely source of support for trade. In this study, we document the racial gap in trade opinions, drawing on multiple data sets spanning over a decade.  In addition, we utilize decomposition analysis to examine why minorities are more supportive of trade than whites. In addition to economic theories, we draw on psychological explanations for trade support to solve this puzzle.  Finally, using an extremely large national survey, we begin to disentangle which minority groups appear most likely to drive this effect.  


Diana C. Mutz. 2017. Changing Party Alignments in American Attitudes Toward Trade: Reflections on the Past, Implications for the Future

Partisan alignments with respect to free trade have changed many times during the course of our nation’s history. Nonetheless, for decades, up until just a few years ago, Republicans had been known as the party of free trade. As of 2016, this is clearly no longer the case. So when precisely did rank and file Republicans change their minds?



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Dan Hopkins. Assessing the Breadth of Framing Effects. 2017

Issue frames are a central concept in studying public opinion, and are thought to operate by foregrounding related considerations in citizens' minds. But scholarship has yet to consider the breadth of framing effects by testing whether frames influence attitudes beyond the specific issue they highlight. For example, does a discussion of terrorism affect opinions on proximate issues like crime or even more remote issues like poverty? By measuring the breadth of framing effects, we can assess the extent to which citizens' political considerations are cognitively organized by issues. We undertake a population-based survey experiment with roughly 3,300 respondents which includes frames related to terrorism, crime, health care, and government spending. The results demonstrate that framing effects are narrow, with limited but discernible spillover on proximate, structurally similar issues. Discrete issues not only organize elite politics but also exist in voters' minds, a finding with implications for studying ideology as well as framing.


Diana C. Mutz, Robin Pemantle, and Phil Pham. Searchable Television As Text. 2016

STAT is a web interface that enables content analysis of an archive of closed-caption transcripts of a library of TV shows from October, 2012 to the present.  This site disseminates search results only; no raw data is downloadable from this site.

A number of search types are possible.  Documentation for the use of the site may be downloaded or viewed in .pdf format at the upper right corner of this page.  

Follow this link to get to the STAT web search interface:  



Diana C. Mutz and Eunji Kim. Presentation to ANES board concerning measures of attitudes toward inequality. 2015


Diana C. Mutz and Seth K. Goldman. 2010. “Effects of Mass Media.” Chapter x in J.F. Dovidio, M. Hewstone, P. Glick, and V. M. Esses, Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination. London: Sage.

The way outgroup members are portrayed in the media is widely believed to have consequences for levels of prejudice and stereotyping in the mass public. The visual nature of television and its heavy viewership make it a key source of information for impressions that ingroup members may have of other social groups. However, most research to date has focused on documenting the portrayals of various groups in television content, with only a few studies documenting the causal impact of television viewing. To further understanding of this hypothesis, we outline the contributions and limitations of past work, and point to the most promising theoretical frameworks for studying media influence on outgroup attitudes.