Partisanship and Perceptions of Fairness: Ignoring the Facts
Stevens, Daniel P.
Journal of Experimental Political Science
Cambridge University Press
Copyright © 2015 The Experimental Research Section of the American Political Science Association
This paper employs survey experiments to examine how contextualizing the claims made in negative political advertising affects perceptions of their fairness. This has implications for the components of fairness judgments, e.g., if “truth” is a component of fairness, being informed that a claim is untrue should undermine perceptions of its fairness, as well as for the efficacy of “fact-checking.” Our experiments on a random national telephone sample show some effects of being informed that a claim is untrue but few if it is characterized as taken out of context or as irrelevant. These findings imply that: (a) while evaluations of the truth of claims appear to be a component of fairness, considerations such as whether claims are the “whole story” or “relevant” to the decision at hand do not, and (b) contextualizing of the claims of ads in fact-checks has very little impact on perceptions of their fairness.
Published online: 26 October 2015