The Journal of Politics


Turning Personal Experience into Political Attitudes: The Effect of Local Weather on Americans’ Perceptions about Global Warming

Patrick J. Egana1 and Megan Mullina2

a1 New York University

a2 Temple University


How do people translate their personal experiences into political attitudes? It has been difficult to explore this question using observational data, because individuals are typically exposed to experiences in a selective fashion, and self-reports of exposure may be biased and unreliable. In this study, we identify one experience to which Americans are exposed nearly at random—their local weather—and show that weather patterns have a significant effect on people’s beliefs about the evidence for global warming.


Patrick J. Egan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Policy at New York University, New York, NY 10012.

Megan Mullin is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122.