Direction Versus Proximity in the Social Influence Process

Direction Versus Proximity in the Social Influence Process Rabinowitz and Macdonald (Am Polit Sci Rev 83(1):93–121, 1989) have advanced a directional theory of electoral choice that stands as an alternative to the proximity models that have dominated thinking in this area for a number of years. In this paper, we assess the utility of directional theory in another area of political behavior: the evaluation and influence of politically significant others in an individual’s social environment. Using two datasets collected during presidential election campaigns in 1984 and 1996, we find that respondents are more likely to evaluate their political discussants highly and be influenced by discussant vote choice if they agree in a directional rather than proximity manner. In looking at agreement on party identification, ideology, and issue positions, the directional model prevailed in 11 of 17 estimations, with neither explanation acquiring empirical support in the other six. In no instance did the proximity model prevail as an explanation of how political discussants relate to each other. We conclude by discussing the consequences of these results for political behavior and practical electoral politics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Direction Versus Proximity in the Social Influence Process

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 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/s11109-007-9043-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Rabinowitz and Macdonald (Am Polit Sci Rev 83(1):93–121, 1989) have advanced a directional theory of electoral choice that stands as an alternative to the proximity models that have dominated thinking in this area for a number of years. In this paper, we assess the utility of directional theory in another area of political behavior: the evaluation and influence of politically significant others in an individual’s social environment. Using two datasets collected during presidential election campaigns in 1984 and 1996, we find that respondents are more likely to evaluate their political discussants highly and be influenced by discussant vote choice if they agree in a directional rather than proximity manner. In looking at agreement on party identification, ideology, and issue positions, the directional model prevailed in 11 of 17 estimations, with neither explanation acquiring empirical support in the other six. In no instance did the proximity model prevail as an explanation of how political discussants relate to each other. We conclude by discussing the consequences of these results for political behavior and practical electoral politics.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 9, 2007

References

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