Cast off your nonchalance and shed your conceit, researchers and policy analysts! Word from UC Berkeley has it that the general public is prone to doubt your research, and what's more, question your impartiality...at least if your findings conflict with the truth as they see it.
Over 1,000 randomly selected Californians were asked to comment on the results of four hypothetical studies. Two of the studies concerned policies generally more favored by liberals (gun control and the medical use of marijuana) while the other two concerned policies usually more favored by conservatives (school vouchers and the death penalty).
The participants were asked to comment on how believable they found the results of the studies and to speculate about the possible political views of the studies' authors.
Naturally, the participants were more skeptical about those studies that contradicted their beliefs. Also, participants were more likely to attribute liberal political beliefs to authors of studies that presented findings favored by liberals.
More noteworthy, respondents were not more likely to attribute conservative political beliefs to authors of studies whose results were favored by conservatives, an asymmetry that may be explained by the common perception that researchers and academics generally tend to be liberal-leaning.