Blame, Responsibility, and the Tea Party in the 2010 Midterm Elections

Blame, Responsibility, and the Tea Party in the 2010 Midterm Elections There is a general consensus both in the news media and scholarly research that 2010 was a highly nationalized election year. Reports have indicated that anti-Obama sentiment, the Democrats’ legislative agenda, the economy, and the Tea Party were all factors contributing to Democratic losses in the congressional elections. In this paper, we use data from 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study to examine the individual-level dynamics that contributed to the heightened nationalization of the 2010 congressional elections. Our analysis shows that Tea Party support and the attribution of blame and responsibility by voters are essential to understanding the 2010 election outcome, beyond what we would expect from a simple referendum model of midterm elections. Not surprisingly, Tea Party supporters blamed Democrats for the state of national affairs, disapproved of the Democrats’ policy agenda, and overwhelmingly supported Republican candidates in the congressional elections. However, our analysis shows that not all voters who supported Republican candidates were driven by high levels of opposition to President Obama and the Democrats. Another key group of voters blamed both Democrats and Republicans for the nation’s problems but ultimately held Democrats responsible in the voting booth by supporting Republican congressional candidates. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Blame, Responsibility, and the Tea Party in the 2010 Midterm Elections

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Social Sciences, general; Political Science, general; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-013-9242-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

There is a general consensus both in the news media and scholarly research that 2010 was a highly nationalized election year. Reports have indicated that anti-Obama sentiment, the Democrats’ legislative agenda, the economy, and the Tea Party were all factors contributing to Democratic losses in the congressional elections. In this paper, we use data from 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study to examine the individual-level dynamics that contributed to the heightened nationalization of the 2010 congressional elections. Our analysis shows that Tea Party support and the attribution of blame and responsibility by voters are essential to understanding the 2010 election outcome, beyond what we would expect from a simple referendum model of midterm elections. Not surprisingly, Tea Party supporters blamed Democrats for the state of national affairs, disapproved of the Democrats’ policy agenda, and overwhelmingly supported Republican candidates in the congressional elections. However, our analysis shows that not all voters who supported Republican candidates were driven by high levels of opposition to President Obama and the Democrats. Another key group of voters blamed both Democrats and Republicans for the nation’s problems but ultimately held Democrats responsible in the voting booth by supporting Republican congressional candidates.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 14, 2013

References

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