Chapter

How Voters Sort

in The Partisan Sort

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226473642
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226473673 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226473673.003.0006
How Voters Sort

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Voters can move from being not sorted to sorted via two different paths: by aligning their partisanship with their ideology, or by aligning their ideology with their partisanship. The second option, the party-driven model of sorting, suggests a pattern of political behavior in which partisanship is the dominant influence on ordinary citizens' behavior, whereas ideology is somewhat more malleable. This chapter explores which of these pathways — party-driven or ideology-driven sorting — is more prominent in the mass electorate. To test whether party or ideology is the dominant factor driving sorting, it looks at how respondents move from unsorted to sorted using National Election Study (NES) panel data. It shows that sorting occurs in large part because individuals adjust their ideology to accommodate their partisanship. It takes fairly unique circumstances, such as substantial elite realignment, for large numbers of individuals to leave their party as a result of their ideological beliefs.

Keywords: sorting; voters; partisanship; ideology; political behavior; National Election Study

Chapter.  4066 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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