Department of Communication
Party cues, polarization or something else? How people form perceptions of public opinion on climate change
Public opinion has the power to influence decision-making at both individual and societal levels. At the individual level, behavior is shaped by beliefs about how other people feel about a given social issue. At the societal level, policy makers and organizational leaders rely on public opinion to make decisions, though they may often act on perceived rather than actual opinion. In the case of climate change, a majority of Americans accept the science that the Earth has been getting warmer, but they also consistently underestimate climate change belief in the general population. Using experiments embedded in surveys, my work investigates the causes of this misperception of public opinion and potential intervention strategies to rectify it.