Climatic Change

, Volume 148, Issue 1–2, pp 61–80 | Cite as

Correcting misinformation about climate change: the impact of partisanship in an experimental setting

  • Salil D. BenegalEmail author
  • Lyle A. Scruggs


Misperceptions of the scientific consensus on climate change are an important problem in environmental policy. These misperceptions stem from a combination of ideological polarization and statements from prominent politicians who endorse information contradicting or misrepresenting the scientific consensus on climate change. Our study tests a source credibility theory of correction using different partisan sources of information in a survey experiment. We find that corrections from Republicans speaking against their partisan interest are most likely to persuade respondents to acknowledge and agree with the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. The extent of these effects vary by the partisanship of the recipient. Our results suggest that the partisan gap on climate change can be reduced by highlighting the views of elite Republicans who acknowledge the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.



The authors thank Adam Berinsky, Thomas Hayes, Paul Herrnson, Blair Johnson, Matto Mildenberger, Megan Mullin, Brendan Nyhan, Mike Shor, Matthew Singer, Gabriela Tafoya, Steven Webster, participants in the UConn Political Economy Workshop, and the editors and reviewers at Climatic Change for their constructive feedback on this study.

Replication materials

Replication materials for this study are available at


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceDePauw UniversityGreencastleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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