Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-568f69f84b-8fhp6 Total loading time: 0.208 Render date: 2021-09-20T00:56:42.047Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Estimating Individuals’ Political Perceptions While Adjusting for Differential Item Functioning

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2020

Stephen A. Jessee*
Affiliation:
The University of Texas at Austin, Government, 1 University Station A1800, Austin, TX 78712-1139, USA. Email: sjessee@utexas.edu
*Corresponding

Abstract

Questions about people’s perceptions of politicians or other political actors are of central interest in a wide variety of research areas. But measuring these perceptions is difficult in part because respondents may use survey response scales in different ways. In a classic article, Aldrich and McKelvey (1977) introduce a method adjusting for such differential item functioning by assuming that all respondents perceive political stimuli identically. I propose a modeling approach built on the Aldrich and McKelvey framework but incorporating anchoring vignettes. This approach allows for scale use adjustments without assuming that all respondents perceive a given politician identically. I apply this model to data on Americans’ perceptions of parties, elected officials, and other political actors, showing that, contrary to previous arguments, most variation in ideology ratings is due not to differing scale use, but to differences in underlying perceptions. Specifically, while perceptions of Republican politicians and the Republican party show no significant differences by respondent partisanship, Democratic and Republican respondents differ strongly in their perceptions of the ideology of Democratic political actors as well as the Supreme Court.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology.

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

Contributing Editor: Jeff Gill

References

Aldrich, J. H., and McKelvey, R. D.. 1977. “A Method of Scaling with Applications to the 1968 and 1972 Presidential Elections.” The American Political Science Review 71(1):111130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bafumi, J., and Herron, M. C.. 2010. “Leapfrog Representation and Extremism: A Study of American Voters and their Members in Congress.” American Political Science Review 104(3):519542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bakker, R., Jolly, S., Polk, J., and Poole, K.. 2014. “The European Common Space: Extending the Use of Anchoring Vignettes.” The Journal of Politics 76(4):10891101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brady, H. E. 1985. “The Perils of Survey Research: Inter-Personally Incomparable Responses.” Political Methodology 11(3/4):269291.Google Scholar
Brady, H. E., and Sniderman, P. M.. 1985. “Attitude Attribution: A Group Basis for Political Reasoning.” The American Political Science Review 79(4):10611078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brody, R. A., and Page, B. I.. 1972. “Comment: The Assessment of Policy Voting.” American Political Science Review 66(2):450458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bullock, J. G., Gerber, A. S., Hill, S. J., and Huber, G. A.. 2015. “Partisan bias in factual beliefs about politics.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 10:519578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, Angus, Converse, P. E., Miller, W. E., and Stokes, D. E.. 1960. The American Voter . Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Conover, P. J., and Feldman, S.. 1982. “Projection and the Perception of Candidates’ Issue Positions.” The Western Political Quarterly 35(2):228244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Converse, P. E. 1964. “The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics.” In Ideology and Discontent , edited by Nieme, R. and Weisberg, H., 322357. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
Grossmann, M., and Hopkins, D. A.. 2016. Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats . Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hare, C., Armstrong, D. A., Bakker, R., Carroll, R., and Poole, K. T.. 2015. “Using Bayesian Aldrich-McKelvey Scaling to Study Citizens’ Ideological Preferences and Perceptions.” American Journal of Political Science 59(3):759774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jessee, S. A. 2012. Ideology and Spatial Voting in American Elections . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jessee, S. A.2019. “Replication Data for: Estimating Individuals’ Political Perceptions While Adjusting for Differential Item Functioning.” https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/MCXXBS, Harvard Dataverse, V1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kinder, D. R., and Kalmoe, N. P.. 2017. Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public . University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
King, G., Murray, C.J. L., Salomon, J. A., and Tandon, A.. 2004. “Enhancing the validity and cross-cultural comparability of measurement in survey research.” American Political Science Review 98(1):191207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
King, G., and Wand, J.. 2007. “Comparing Incomparable Survey Responses: Evaluating and Selecting Anchoring Vignettes.” Political Analysis 15(1):4666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levendusky, M. S., and Malhotra, N.. 2015. “(Mis) Perceptions of Partisan Polarization in the American Public.” Public Opinion Quarterly 80(S1):378391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neiheisel, J. R. 2016. “The ‘L’ Word: Anti-liberal Campaign Rhetoric, Symbolic Ideology, and the Electoral Fortunes of Democratic Candidates.” Political Research Quarterly 69(3):418429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Plummer, M. et al. . 2003. “JAGS: A Program for Analysis of Bayesian Graphical Models Using Gibbs Sampling.” In Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Distributed Statistical Computing, vol. 124 , edited by Hornik, K., Leisch, F., and Zeileis, A.. Vienna, Austria.Google Scholar
Prior, M., Gaurav, S., and Khanna, K. et al. . 2015. “You cannot be Serious: The Impact of Accuracy Incentives on Partisan Bias in Reports of Economic Perceptions.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 10(4):489518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rasch, G. 1966. “An Item Analysis which Takes Individual Differences into Account.” British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology 2:4557.Google Scholar
Schiffer, A. J. 2000. “I’m not that Liberal: Explaining Conservative Democratic Identification.” Political Behavior 22(4):293310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shor, B., and Rogowski, J. C.. 2016. “Ideology and the US Congressional Vote.” Political Science Research and Methods 6(2):323341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Simas, E. N. 2017. “Ideology Through the Partisan Lens: Applying Anchoring Vignettes to US Survey Research.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 30(3):343364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Simas, E. N. 2018. “Perceptions of the Heterogeneity of Party Elites in the United States.” Party Politics 24(4):444454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Struthers, C. L, Hare, C., and Bakker, R.. 2019. “Bridging the Pond: Measuring Policy Positions in the United States and Europe.” Political Science Research and Methods , doi:10.1017/psrm.2019.22.Google Scholar
Tausanovitch, C., and Warshaw, C.. 2018. “Does the Ideological Proximity Between Candidates and Voters Affect Voting in US House Elections? Political Behavior 40(1):223245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Westfall, J., Van Boven, L., Chambers, J. R., and Judd, C. M.. 2015. “Perceiving political polarization in the United States: Party identity strength and attitude extremity exacerbate the perceived partisan divide.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 10(2):145158.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Supplementary material: File

Jessee supplementary material

Online Appendix

Download Jessee supplementary material(File)
File 221 KB

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@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 sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent 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.

Estimating Individuals’ Political Perceptions While Adjusting for Differential Item Functioning
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send 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 use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Estimating Individuals’ Political Perceptions While Adjusting for Differential Item Functioning
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send 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 use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Estimating Individuals’ Political Perceptions While Adjusting for Differential Item Functioning
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? *