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. Political Behavior Springer Journals

Direction Versus Proximity in the Social Influence Process

Loading next page...
Springer US
Copyright © 2007 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial