Clearer Cues, More Consistent Voters: A Benefit of Elite Polarization

Clearer Cues, More Consistent Voters: A Benefit of Elite Polarization Scholars typically argue that elite polarization has only negative consequences for American politics. I challenge this view by demonstrating that elite polarization, by clarifying where the parties stand on the issues of the day, causes ordinary voters to adopt more consistent attitudes. Scholars have made such claims in the past, but because only observational data has been available, demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship has proven to be difficult. I use original experiments to verify that there is a small but significant causal link between elite polarization and voter consistency. These findings have important normative implications for our understanding of the consequences of elite polarization, the role of political parties in a modern democracy, and the standards scholars use to assess citizen competence and participation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Clearer Cues, More Consistent Voters: A Benefit of Elite Polarization

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-009-9094-0
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Scholars typically argue that elite polarization has only negative consequences for American politics. I challenge this view by demonstrating that elite polarization, by clarifying where the parties stand on the issues of the day, causes ordinary voters to adopt more consistent attitudes. Scholars have made such claims in the past, but because only observational data has been available, demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship has proven to be difficult. I use original experiments to verify that there is a small but significant causal link between elite polarization and voter consistency. These findings have important normative implications for our understanding of the consequences of elite polarization, the role of political parties in a modern democracy, and the standards scholars use to assess citizen competence and participation.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 26, 2009

References

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