Inoculation in Competitive Framing: Examining Message Effects on Policy Preferences
This study examines the effect of inoculation as a strategy in competitive framing in the context of public opinion about taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). Inoculation is a theory of resistance to persuasion which suggests that by exposing an individual to a weakened form of an oppositional message, individuals can develop counterarguments to resist future exposure to oppositional messages. Researchers conducted a two-wave longitudinal framing experiment examining the impact of exposure to several combinations of pro-tax frames, anti-tax frames, and inoculation as a counterframing strategy, relative to no-exposure control groups. The inoculation message identified soda companies as the main opponents of SSB taxes, described their action and motives for framing the issue to their advantage, and used strong pro-tax frames to refute anti-tax frames. Survey respondents were asked about their support for SSB taxes and beliefs about negative soda company practices. The study found that respondents exposed to an inoculation message held more favorable opinions of SSB tax policy immediately after exposure than those in the control group, but exposure to strong oppositional frames at follow-up canceled out the initial persuasive effects of the inoculation message and thus failed to produce a net increase in policy support.
Strategic messaging is used to emphasize certain aspects of issues in policy debates, shaping public views and policy-making processes. This paper explores the use of strategic messaging by proponents of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxation to influence public opinion, emphasizing the experiences in El Monte and Richmond, Calif., where SSB tax … More
Strategies to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are a key component of public health promotion and obesity prevention, yet the introduction of many of these policies has been met with political controversy. This paper assesses the levels and determinants of U.S. public support for policies to reduce consumption of … More
This article examines how the news media frames the public debates about sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes. Researchers assessed how frequently pro- and anti-tax arguments appeared in national news media and in news outlets serving jurisdictions where SSB taxes were proposed and found that news stories focused on the SSB tax … More
This paper assessed public opinion about arguments commonly used in debates over taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and found greater public agreement with anti- than pro-tax arguments. A majority of respondents agreed with anti-SSB tax arguments that such taxes are: arbitrary because they do not affect consumption of other unhealthy … More
Evidence indicates that sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes may reduce rates of childhood obesity, particularly among high-risk populations. However, state and local efforts to enact SSB taxes have been unsuccessful, and public opinion research indicates limited support for these policies. Enactment of SSB taxes will be unlikely without public support, yet … More