Unmoved Mover or Running Tally?

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

Unmoved Mover or Running Tally?

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There is a long-running debate in political science about the nature and functioning of mass partisanship. The traditional conceptualization holds that partisan identity is the most stable and exogenous of all political predispositions; it is the “unmoved mover” of political behavior. The revisionist conceptualization holds that partisanship is unstable and responsive to party performance and policy agreement. Chapter 7 enters into this debate by offering a third alternative: that partisanship is conceptually heterogeneous, and that its variation is driven principally by partisan ambivalence. Specifically, the chapter demonstrates that when party and issue positions conflict, and when those issues are salient, univalent partisans will change their policy preferences to accommodate their partisan identities, whereas ambivalent partisans often switch parties to achieve consistency. Once again, traditional engagement variables show little moderating impact on this dynamic.

Keywords: partisanship; ambivalence; partisan dynamics; unmoved mover

Chapter.  6488 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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