Heuristic Projection: How Interest Group Cues Can Harm Voters' Judgments [post]

David Broockman, Gabriel Lenz, Aaron Kaufman
2020 unpublished
How can voters who know little about their representatives' actions hold them accountable? An influential perspective contends that voters rely on cues from interest groups to act as if they were informed. We argue that interest group cues can also have pathological effects on voters' judgments. When voters know little about interest group reputations, we argue, then voters may naively assume interest groups share their policy views. Interest groups may foster such misperceptions by adopting
more » ... ions by adopting ambiguously positive names, such as FreedomWorks. When groups positively rate voters' representatives, voters may therefore infer they agree with their representatives' policy decisions and approve of their representatives more, even when their representatives earned these favorable ratings by casting votes these voters disagree with, and from groups misaligned with voters' views. We call this tendency heuristic projection. Across four studies, we find considerable support for this pathology and only occasional support for the traditional view.
doi:10.31219/osf.io/6yskq fatcat:yh665wcznzby7c4pol4rmml23a