Ambivalent Partisans at the Polls

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

Ambivalent Partisans at the Polls

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Chapter 6 considers the voting act itself: do univalent and ambivalent partisans differ in the bases in which they make their political choices on Election Day? The answer is a resounding “yes.” The chapter shows that univalent partisans rely overwhelmingly on partisanship at the voting booth, but little on policy issues, whereas ambivalent partisans—ceteris paribus—exhibit the opposite pattern. Moreover, in a close examination of “cross-pressured” citizens, that is, those for whom partisan identity and policy preferences point in opposite directions, univalent partisans privilege party and ambivalent partisans privilege policy. The chapter also demonstrates that traditional explanations of citizen competence (e.g., political sophistication) either have little effect on party vs. policy voting, or actually decrease the probability of policy voting. Finally, the chapter shows that ambivalent partisanship does not inhibit political participation.

Keywords: policy voting; cross-pressured; party identification; ambivalent partisanship; political participation

Chapter.  8544 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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