Is party “ownership” of issues and traits manifest in the minds of voters in ways that could generate the oft-hypothesized implications for mass and elite electoral behavior? We specify two ways in which it may be: party reputations refer to the association of a trait or issue with a party; candidate stereotyping requires that party labels prompt differential assignment of attributes or competencies to candidates. We develop a quantitative measure of both ownership types, and apply it to issues and traits. New national survey data provide the first evidence that party reputation ownership exists for issues and traits. New experimental tests reveal evidence of candidate stereotyping for issues, but not traits. Voters associate some traits more with one party, but may not assign them to candidates based upon party label, demonstrating a key difference in the nature and likely implications of issue and trait ownership.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 5, 2016
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