The Effect of Question Wording: Climate Edition

It is well known that the question wording in a survey may influence the respondents answer. Take as an example the pioneer study (pdf) on framing effects by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, published in Science, which shows that presenting the same action with different words, in this case whether people will be saved or die, affects the respondents action choice.

A lot of different studies investigate the effects of different wordings in survey questions. An interesting paper by Jonathon P. Schuldt, Sara H. Konrath and Norbert Schwarz shows, that presenting respondents with either the words “global warming” or “climate change”, influence the evaluation of whether the climate is changing or not – but only for republicans. From the abstract:

Republicans were less likely to endorse that the phenomenon is real when it was referred to as “global warming” (44.0%) rather than “climate change” (60.2%), whereas Democrats were unaffected by question wording (86.9% vs. 86.4%).

The experimental design (as well as the whole paper) is simple (and easy to read), but I would like to see a clearer investigation of the causal mechanism, in order to explain the individual differences (being more than simply a democrat or republican), maybe by using some sort of within subjects design.