A Natural Experiment: Inadvertent Priming of Party Identification in a Split-Sample Survey

Marc D. Weiner


The research question is whether, and to what degree, questionnaire assignment in a split-sample survey may have affected the respondent’s self-report of party identification. We observe that the degree of Republican party identification can be inflated by priming with typically conservative issue concerns, such as the public economics of disaster recovery and rebuilding, and the role of the state in regulating development. At the same time, we saw that Democratic party identification is immune to such priming, but can be inflated by priming exposure to traditional liberal and more affective concerns, here personal experiences of the respondent up to, during, and immediately following Superstorm Sandy.


priming; party identification; split sample; bias

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