Just listened to this pod w @ezraklein & @paulkrugman, & around min. 13 they have a fascinating exchange about public opinion as a constraint on policy makers. If Dem. elites backed more transformative health policy, would citizens follow? https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-ezra-klein-show/e/65950552?autoplay=true … 1/6
says "no" & I agree. In 2018, I published an article in Political Behavior showing that messaging in the 2009-2010 health care debate had a much more limited impact on public opinion than is commonly appreciated: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11109-017-9418-4 … 2/6
Studying ~1,500 press releases during that period, I find that the messages political elites used to argue about health care varied--a lot. Depending on the situation, Democratic and Republican officials were making quite different arguments. 3/6
Take an example. Many people thought that Sarah Palin's use of "death panels" in summer '09 was a powerful bit of rhetoric that turned public opinion against the law. But you know how many people used that phrase in explaining their ACA views in subsequent surveys? Zero. 5/6
I wrote about this for the @washingtonpost--political elites and activists consistently overstate the role that messaging can play in reshaping public opinion. Public opinion is much more ore freighter than sailboat. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2013/10/22/how-the-myth-of-messaging-gets-politicians-into-trouble/ … 6/6
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