The press claims to hate it, so why are they making it worse?
This article makes a key point about modern marketing which has serious implications for political debate and the health of the republic.
An interesting experiment which shows how this plays out in voters’s minds:
How The Principle Of Triage Can Benefit Your Brand
The second group, can be broadly described as rejecters of the brand. Even heavy spend against this group will have minimal effect, because of the problem of confirmation bias.
This bias, first described in 1954 by the psychologists Albert Hastorf and Hadley Cantril, suggests that we interpret messages through a lens of our existing feelings. So if we dislike a brand, any message will be interpreted negatively, through a lens of cynicism.
Advertising, as a relatively weak force, will struggle to over-turn these misconceptions.
So it appears that once an issue is presented within a red/blue, left/right framework, people become locked into their positions and less susceptible to persuasion.
Along with Jenny Ridell I ran an experiment in the UK to understand if the bias was still as powerful today. We surveyed 1,004 nationally representative voters about their views on raising sales tax by a penny to fund 10,000 extra nurses.
The results were then split by political affiliation. The twist was that half the respondents were told it was a Conservative policy and half Labour.
When Labour supporters thought the policy came from Labour there was strong support: 14 percent completely agreed. However, support plummeted to 3 percent when it was described as a Conservative policy.
Similarly, among Tories the policy was four times more popular when it was positioned as coming from their party.
The results show that voters interpret policies through a lens of their feelings for the party. If they dislike a party they’ll interpret any policy through a negative filter.
As can be seen from the scale of the effect this is not an insignificant factor: policy is far less influential than existing party affiliation.
See additional discussion here:
As noted previously, the business model of cable news and internet publishing is a big driver of this High Heat/Low Light “journalism”.