Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-mhx7p Total loading time: 0.608 Render date: 2022-05-19T16:16:58.526Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Believe It or Not? Partisanship, Preferences, and the Credibility of Campaign Promises

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 May 2019

Pablo Fernandez-Vazquez
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA15260, USA, e-mail: pablo.fernandezvz@gmail.com; Twitter: @pfernandezvz
Alexander G. Theodoridis
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of California, Merced, CA95343, USA, e-mail: atheodoridis@ucmerced.edu; Twitter: @AGTheodoridis

Abstract

We use a novel survey experiment with a broadly representative sample to reveal an important phenomenon in voter integration of campaign communications: preference-mediated partisan motivation. When evaluating the credibility of candidate position changes on minimum wage policy (a readily quantifiable and salient issue domain), partisans do not take a new stance at face value, apply universal skepticism, or simply afford more credibility to co-partisans. Instead, they process a candidate’s stance through an interaction between the voter’s partisan allegiance and their own policy preference. Partisans update more when a co-partisan moves closer to them than when the candidate shifts away from them. The opposite pattern emerges with the other party’s candidates: partisans tend to be more receptive if the candidate moves away from them. This feature of campaign message acceptance has profound implications for political communication and our understanding of partisan cognition.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Experimental Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

We thank Steve Ansolabehere, Vin Arceneaux, Larry Bartels, Toby Bolsen, Henry Brady, Jack Citrin, Jamie Druckman, Nick Eubank, Stephen Goggin, John Henderson, Travis Johnston, Cindy Kam, Kevin Mullinix, Steve Nicholson, David Nickerson, Eric Schickler, Paul Sniderman, Rob Van Houweling, Julie Wronski and the Vanderbilt University Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. This research was supported by generous funding from the University of California, Merced, and supported by the National Science Foundation, Award #1559125. The authors have no conflicts of interest pertaining to this research. The data, code, online supplement, and any additional materials required to replicate all analyses in this article are available at the Journal of Experimental Political Science Dataverse within the Harvard Dataverse Network, at: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/6JGSZP.

References

Achen, Christopher H. and Bartels, Larry M.. 2016. Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ansolabehere, S. 2017. “Cooperative Congressional Election Study, 2016: Common Content.[Computer File] Release 1: February 2017.”.Google Scholar
Arceneaux, Kevin and Vander Wielen, Ryan J.. 2017. Taming Intuition: How Reflection Minimizes Partisan Reasoning and Promotes Democratic Accountability. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bartels, L. M. 2002. “Beyond the Running Tally: Partisan Bias in Political Perceptions.” Political Behavior 24(2):117–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bawn, Kathleen, Cohen, Martin, Karol, David, Masket, Seth, Noel, Hans and Zaller, John. 2012. “A Theory of Political Parties: Groups, Policy Demands and Nominations in American Politics.” Perspectives on Politics 10(3):571–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bolsen, Toby, Druckman, James N. and Cook, Fay Lomax. 2014. “The Influence of Partisan Motivated Reasoning on Public Opinion.” Political Behavior 36(2):235–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, Angus, Converse, Philip E., Miller, William E. and Stokes, Donald E.. 1960. The American Voter. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
Doherty, David, Dowling, Conor M and Miller, Michael G. 2016. “When is Changing Policy Positions Costly for Politicians? Experimental Evidence.” Political Behavior 38(2):455–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Druckman, James N. 2012. “The Politics of Motivation.” Critical Review 24(2):199216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Druckman, James N. and Bolsen, Toby. 2011. “Framing, Motivated Reasoning, and Opinions About Emergent Technologies.” Journal of Communication 61(4):659–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Enelow, James M. and Hinich, Melvin J.. 1984. The Spatial Theory of Voting: An Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Fernandez-Vazquez, Pablo and Theodoridis, Alexander G.. 2019. “Replication Data for: Believe It or Not? Partisanship, Preferences, and the Credibility of Campaign Promises.” Harvard Dataverse, https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/6JGSZPCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Glazer, Amihai. 1990. “The Strategy of Candidate Ambiguity.” American Political Science Review 84(1):237–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goggin, Stephen A. and Theodoridis, Alexander G.. 2017. “Disputed Ownership: Parties, Issues, and Traits in the Minds of Voters.” Political Behavior 39(3):675702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greene, S. 1999. “Understanding Party Identification: A Social Identity Approach.” Political Psychology 20(2):393403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halberstam, Yosh and Montagnes, B. Pablo. 2015. “Presidential Coattails Versus the Median Voter: Senator Selection in US Elections.” Journal of Public Economics 121:4051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heider, Fritz. 1946. “Attitudes and Cognitive Organization.” The Journal of Psychology 21(1):107–12.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heit, Evan and Nicholson, Stephen P.. 2016. “Missing the Party: Political Categorization and Reasoning in the Absence of Party Label Cues.” Topics in Cognitive Science 8(3):697714.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Henderson, John A. and Theodoridis, Alexander G.. 2017. “Seeing Spots: Partisanship, Negativity and the Conditional Receipt of Campaign Advertisements.” Political Behavior 40(4): 965987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hersh, Eitan D. and Schaffner, Brian F.. 2013. “Targeted Campaign Appeals and the Value of Ambiguity.” The Journal of Politics 75(2):520–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huddy, Leonie, Mason, Lilliana and Aarøe, Lene. 2015. “Expressive Partisanship: Campaign Involvement, Political Emotion, and Partisan Identity.” American Political Science Review 109(1):117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iyengar, Shanto, Sood, Gaurav and Lelkes, Yphtach. 2012. “Affect, Not Ideology: A Social Identity Perspective on Polarization.” Public Opinion Quarterly 76(3):405–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iyengar, Shanto and Westwood, Sean J.. 2015. “Fear and Loathing across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization.” American Journal of Political Science 59(3):690707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jerit, Jennifer and Barabas, Jason. 2012. “Partisan Perceptual Bias and the Information Environment.” The Journal of Politics 74(3):672–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Karol, David. 2009. Party Position Change in American Politics: Coalition Management. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klar, Samara. 2014. “Partisanship in a Social Setting.” American Journal of Political Science 58(3):687704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krueger, Joachim and Clement, Russell W.. 1994. “The Truly False Consensus Effect: An Ineradicable and Egocentric Bias in Social Perception.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67(4):596610.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Leeper, Thomas J. and Slothuus, Rune. 2014. “Political Parties, Motivated Reasoning, and Public Opinion Formation.” Political Psychology 35(S1):129–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lenz, Gabriel S. 2013. Follow the Leader? How Voters Respond to Politicians’ Policies and Performance. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Lerman, Amy E. and Acland, Daniel. 2018. “United in States of Dissatisfaction: Confirmation Bias Across the Partisan Divide.” American Politics Research. doi: 10.1177/1532673X18799274Google Scholar
Mason, Lilliana. 2018. Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity. University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miratrix, Luke W., Sekhon, Jasjeet S., Theodoridis, Alexander G. and Campos, Luis F.. 2018. “Worth Weighting? How to Think About and Use Weights in Survey Experiments.” Political Analysis 26(3): 275291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Montagnes, Brendan Pablo and Rogowski, Jon C.. 2015. “Testing Core Predictions of Spatial Models: Platform Moderation and Challenger Success.” Political Science Research and Methods 3(3):619–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mullinix, Kevin J. 2016. “Partisanship and Preference Formation: Competing Motivations, Elite Polarization, and Issue Importance.” Political Behavior 38(2):383411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nicholson, Stephen P. 2012. “Polarizing Cues.” American Journal of Political Science 56(1):5266.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Page, Benjamin I. 1976. “The Theory of Political Ambiguity.” American Political Science Review 70(3): 742–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rogowski, J. C. and Tucker, P. D.. 2018. Moderate, Extreme, or Both? How Voters Respond to Ideologically Unpredictable Candidates. Electoral Studies, (51) February 2018, Pages 83–92.Google Scholar
Ross, Lee, Greene, David and House, Pamela. 1977. “The” False Consensus Effect”: An Egocentric Bias in Social Perception and Attribution Processes.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 13(3):279301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shepsle, Kenneth A. 1972. “The Strategy of Ambiguity: Uncertainty and Electoral Competition.” American Political Science Review 66(2):555–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sniderman, Paul M. and Stiglitz, Edward H.. 2012. The Reputational Premium: A Theory of Party Identification and Policy Reasoning. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. 2015. “Everything to Everyone: The Electoral Consequences of the Broad-Appeal Strategy in Europe.” American Journal of Political Science 59(4):841–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taber, Charles S. and Lodge, Milton. 2006. “Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs.” American Journal of Political Science 50(3):755–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Theodoridis, Alexander George. 2013. “Implicit Political Identity.” PS: Political Science & Politics 46(03):545–9.Google Scholar
Theodoridis, A.G. 2017a. “2016 University of California, Merced Cooperative Congressional Election Study Module. [Computer File].”Google Scholar
Theodoridis, Alexander G. 2017b. “Me, Myself, and (I), (D), or (R)? Partisanship and Political Cognition through the Lens of Implicit Identity.” The Journal of Politics 79(4):1253–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tomz, M. and Van Houweling, R. P.. 2009. “The Electoral Implications of Candidate Ambiguity.” American Political Science Review 103(01):8398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tomz, Michael and Van Houweling, Robert P.. 2012. Candidate Repositioning. Stanford University and UC Berkeley.Google Scholar
Tomz, Michael and Van Houweling, Robert P.. 2014. Political Repositioning: A Conjoint Analysis. Stanford University and UC Berkeley.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: Link

Fernandez-Vazquez and Theodoridis Dataset

Link
Supplementary material: PDF

Fernandez-Vazquez and Theodoridis supplementary material

Online Appendix

Download Fernandez-Vazquez and Theodoridis supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 304 KB
1
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Believe It or Not? Partisanship, Preferences, and the Credibility of Campaign Promises
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Believe It or Not? Partisanship, Preferences, and the Credibility of Campaign Promises
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Believe It or Not? Partisanship, Preferences, and the Credibility of Campaign Promises
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *