Citizens preferences form the foundation of democratic governance. When they form their preferences, they typically do so in the presence of various types of competing arguments that reach them at different times. Surprisingly, public opinion research offers little guidance on how competition and time affect preference formation. We fill this gap by exploring the relative influence of two prominent types of competing arguments, frames and cues, over time. We find that only frames have initial direct effects, although cues exert initial indirect effects on opinion formation. Over time, the relative impact of frames and cues depends on individual differences in processing style. Our results have important implications for opinion formation, political communication, and democratic responsiveness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science