Anti-Democratic Attitudes and Support for Partisan Violence: Are Misperceptions to Blame?
There is significant concern about democratic backsliding in the U.S. This stems, in part, from citizens who appear to hold anti-democratic attitudes and support partisan violence. Recent work, however, offers a promising antidote, showing those problematic opinions stem from misperceptions of the other party. These misperceptions can be corrected, reducing the extent of anti-democratic attitudes and support for partisan violence. I argue that such corrections are not robust due to democratic competition. I present results from an experiment that shows either questioning the validity of the correction or offering contrary information undermines the correction’s effect. A key tenet of democracy – competition – thus ironically undermines efforts to protect it. I discuss implications for pluralistic visions of democracy.
Jamie Druckman is the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science and a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. He studies preference formation, communication, and experimental methods. He is a co-PI for Time-sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences and the COVID States Project. More information is available at: http://faculty.wcas.northwestern.edu/~jnd260/index.html.