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Title: The Consequences of Imperfect Partisanship for Political Decisions
Authors: McCabe, Katherine Thompson
Advisors: Prior, Markus
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Cross-pressure
Political participation
Political psychology
Public opinion
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Partisanship has a tremendous influence on political preferences and behavior in American politics. However, people are not perfect partisans. Despite high levels of polarization, most partisans still disagree with their party on at least one issue or have a social identity that is more typically associated with the opposing party. In this dissertation, I develop and test a theoretical framework to evaluate how individuals manage their "party-conflicting'' beliefs and identities, and how these issue-partisan and identity-partisan conflicts influence political decisions. I draw on diverse methodological approaches and data to carry out the empirical tests, including cross-sectional and panel survey data, survey experiments, and social media and text analysis. My findings reveal that decisions to remain loyal to the in-party in voting, defect to the opposing party, or abstain, depend on how salient party-conflicting issue positions and identities are in the political environment, whether individuals subjectively recognize the conflicts with their party, and the manner in which individuals manage and resolve these conflicts. I find that individuals with salient party-conflicting beliefs and identities are more prone to defect and abstain from their party in voting; however, strategies to manage or resolve conflicts can substantially mitigate these effects. My study advances research on cross-pressure in political science by tracing the process by which competing forces become activated and influence political decisions. The findings also suggest that the effects of issue attitudes on voting behavior are more nuanced than previously theorized. Finally, the results point to both the dominance and malleability of partisanship in the minds of voters. I find that partisans can respond to the political environment by constructing their own interpretation of how partisanship and their beliefs and identities intersect.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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