Joshua Robison, Thomas Leeper, and James Druckman
How attitudes change and affect behavior depends, in large part, on attitude strength. Strong attitudes are more resistant to persuasion and are more likely to produce attitude-consistent behavior. But what influences attitude strength? The researchers explore a widely discussed, but rarely investigated, factor: an individual’s political discussion network. Existing research offers a somewhat mixed picture, sometimes finding that disagreeable networks weaken attitudes and other times that they strengthen attitudes. The researchers use a novel national representative dataset to explore the relationship between disagreeable networks and attitude strength. They find, perhaps surprisingly, no evidence that disagreements in networks affect political attitude strength. They conclude by discussing likely reasons for the findings, which provide a research agenda for the study of networks and attitude strength.