Ambivalence and the Partisan Perceptual Screen

Howard G. Lavine, Christopher D. Johnston and Marco R. Steenbergen

in The Ambivalent Partisan

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199772759
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979622 | DOI:

Series: Series in Political Psychology

Ambivalence and the Partisan Perceptual Screen

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Chapter 5 applies the ambivalence model to perceptions of objective political and economic conditions. The chapter demonstrates that univalent (i.e. non-ambivalent) partisans show substantial biases in their perceptions of economic performance, the policy stands of candidates, the roll-call behavior of legislators, and crime rates. Ambivalent partisans, by contrast, update their beliefs about political reality in response to actual changes, and show little partisan bias. Furthermore, while traditional “engagement” variables (e.g. political interest) have countervailing effects on bias (i.e., they heighten both bias and responsiveness), partisan ambivalence has cumulative effects, simultaneously decreasing bias and increasing responsiveness.

Keywords: biased perceptions; responsiveness; economic perceptions; partisan bias; partisan ambivalence

Chapter.  10756 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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