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Shaping public opinion about regional integration: the rhetoric of justification and party cues

Voessing, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-7269-0317 (2021). Shaping public opinion about regional integration: the rhetoric of justification and party cues. Political Studies, 69(3), pp. 492-513. doi: 10.1177/0032321720905130


The article investigates how justifications used by politicians to explain their positions on policies of regional integration shape public opinion about these policies. I argue that support for a policy position increases when politicians tailor their justifications to the expectations of their audience; and I suggest that this happens even when party cues offer a less effortful way of forming opinions. I test my theoretical expectations in laboratory experiments with diverse samples, which manipulate party cues and justifications for a policy of European integration. I find that citizens use justifications and cues to form opinions. The relative importance of the two factors depends on individual dispositions and political context. In a non-competitive context (study 1), politically invested citizens use cues, while uninvested citizens use justifications. In a competitive context (study 2), the opinions of politically invested citizens are shaped by both factors, while the opinions of uninvested citizens become erratic.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: Public opinion, regional integration, European Union, policy justifications, party cues
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JX International law
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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