Toll booths on the information superhighway? Policy metaphors in the case of Net Neutrality


Scholars have argued for centuries that metaphors are persuasive in politics; yet, little experimental research exists to validate these assertions. With two experiments about the issue of federally regulating the Internet, I demonstrate that a toll booth metaphor significantly increases support for Net Neutrality legislation relative to a similarly worded literal message. Moreover, metaphor-induced persuasion works particularly well for politically unsophisticated citizens by increasing assessments of message quality. The lesson is that citizens who typically lack political sophistication might be brought back into complex political debates with apt policy metaphors.

Political Communication