"The Determinants and Consequences of Accurate Beliefs About Childhood Vaccinations/" The abstract:
In this article, we examine the individual predictors that are responsible for accurate beliefs about the link between vaccinations and autism. We then show how these beliefs affect policy preferences about vaccines. We derive two hypotheses from motivated reasoning theory and test these on national survey data from Gallup and CBS News. Republicans were less likely to report accurate beliefs than Democrats. In addition, educational attainment modified the impact of party identification. The gap between Republicans and Democrats in likelihood of reporting accurate beliefs was largest among the most educated portion of the public. Finally, we show that accurate beliefs about vaccines, independent of statistical controls, are important predictors of policy attitudes about unvaccinated children attending public school and parental choice about the decision to vaccinate. We discuss the theoretical and practical significance of these findings.