|Title||Public Opinion on Politician Incivility & Apologies in the United States|
|C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale||
Conversations among politicians are often heated and passionate, but sometimes politicians cross the line of civility: they make “comments that convey an unnecessarily disrespectful tone toward the discussion forum, its respondents, or its topics” (Coe, Kenski, and Rains 2014). While some large political figures, such as President Trump, often ignore and even bash a harsh backlash from the media and public opinion to their uncivil comments, other politicians apologize after making these comments. For example, a candidate for Arizona’s first Congressional District apologized for saying “99 percent of (mass shootings) have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people” (Press 2014). Another political candidate, who was running for the North Carolina state House, apologized after an old expletive-filled rant on Mexicans she made surfaced (Specht 2018). However, how much do these apologies matter?
Past studies in political science and psychology find that anger expression and incivility are not effective as a persuasion tactic, and can even cause politicians to be viewed less favorably and as unfriendly and incompetent (Brooks and Geer 2007; Brooks 2011; Riet, Schaap, and Kleemans 2018). These reactions are also nuanced: according to Brooks (2011), Druckman et al. (2018), and Eggers, Vivyan, and Wagner (2017), the identities of a politician and a respondent can affect how the respondent reacts to the politician’s actions and words. However, no study has yet to examine how people react when politicians apologize for their uncivil comments, compared to when they ignore criticism by the media and the public. Do these apologies affect voters’ evaluations of and their response to the politicians in general? Also, do the genders of politicians and voters interactively influence the voters’ evaluations of and responses to the politicians?
|C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?||
We test the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1a: People will evaluate a politician who makes an uncivil comment worse than a politician who does not make an uncivil comment.
In addition to our confirmatory analysis to test these hypotheses, we will undertake a range of exploratory analysis. The research questions (RQs) include the following:
RQ1: Will people evaluate a politician who makes an uncivil comment and apologizes worse than a politician who does not make an uncivil comment?
|C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *||We will conduct a randomized survey experiment to test these hypotheses and examine exploratory research questions. Participants will be United States citizens, who are 18 years old or older, and recruited through the Qualtrics Panel. We will conduct analyses using all respondents, as well as some subgroups of respondents. See the attached appendix for the survey instruments and our plan of statistical analysis.|
|C4 Country||United States|
|C5 Scale (# of Units)||1,000|
|C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection?||No|
|C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval?||Yes|
|C8 IRB Number||STUDY00031356; MOD00008410, MOD00008656|
|C9 Date of IRB Approval||10/17/2019; 01/28/2019; 02/22/2019|
|C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party?||Researchers|
|C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research?||No|
|C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published?||not provided by authors|
|C13 JEL Classification(s)||D70, D80, C90|