ABSTRACT: At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to intend to refuse COVID-19 vaccination; endangering achieving population immunity. I introduce a novel political communication strategy -- retrospective vs. prospective responsibility framing -- aimed at neutralizing vaccine politicization. Retrospective frames emphasize the vaccine-related accomplishments of the previous (Republican) presidential administration, whereas prospective frames emphasize the responsibilities and competencies of the incoming (Democratic) administration. I hypothesize that exposure to retrospective frames increases Republicans' intentions to vaccinate against COVID-19, and leads them to hold more-positive feelings toward vaccination. Given Democrats' increased propensity to vaccinate, and therefore the possibility that they may be less moved by messaging attempts of any type, I also ask whether or not prospective frames might do the same. After providing new, multivariate evidence of vaccine polarization across six demographically representative surveys, I [plan to test] expectations about the efficacy of PRF/RRF messaging strategies via a survey experiment with both between and within-subject components. [BRIEF DISCUSSION OF WHAT I FIND]. I conclude by discussing the viability of retrospective and prospective framing strategies for addressing partisan disagreement on not just public health issues, but a variety of political controversies.
NOTE: This is an open-ended pre-registered report, pre-registering 4 Hypotheses and 2 Research Questions. Information in brackets represents quantities and/or language that will be filled in following data collection. Note also analysis plan pre-registration, and the initial writeup of (non pre-registered) contextualizing results.