To what extent do interest group messages shape the public’s climate change policy preferences?

Sam Crawley, Hilde Coffé, Ralph Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interest groups campaign to influence public opinion on climate change, yet few studies have empirically examined whether they are successful in their aims. The current study investigates the extent to which characteristic arguments used by environmental and industry-backed interest groups are able to influence the public’s climate policy preferences. Using an original online survey experiment conducted in the UK (N = 796), we find that interest group messages can affect climate policy preferences. After reading an argument supporting a policy, respondents were significantly more likely than the control group to support the (strong or weak) policy endorsed by the argument, although broader policy views were unaffected. Policy endorsements had the same effect on policy preferences whether or not emphasis frames were used, and the effects were not moderated by the personal importance of climate change. Overall, the moderate effect sizes suggest that interest groups have limited influence over the public’s climate policy preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436–455
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Politics
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • Climate change policy
  • Emphasis frames
  • Interest groups
  • Policy endorsement
  • Public opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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