How Ideology Fuels Affective Polarization

How Ideology Fuels Affective Polarization Scholars have reached mixed conclusions about the implications of increased political polarization for citizen decision-making. In this paper, we argue that citizens respond to ideological divergence with heightened affective polarization. Using a survey experiment conducted with a nationally representative sample of U.S. citizens, we find that increased ideological differences between political figures produce increasingly polarized affective evaluations, and that these differences are especially large among respondents with stronger ideological commitments and higher levels of political interest. We provide further support for these findings in an observational study of citizens’ evaluations of the U.S. Senators from their state. We also find that the polarizing effects of ideological differences can be largely mitigated with biographical information about the public officials, which suggests that the pernicious consequences of ideological polarization can be overcome by focusing on matters other than political disagreement. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

How Ideology Fuels Affective Polarization

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-015-9323-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Scholars have reached mixed conclusions about the implications of increased political polarization for citizen decision-making. In this paper, we argue that citizens respond to ideological divergence with heightened affective polarization. Using a survey experiment conducted with a nationally representative sample of U.S. citizens, we find that increased ideological differences between political figures produce increasingly polarized affective evaluations, and that these differences are especially large among respondents with stronger ideological commitments and higher levels of political interest. We provide further support for these findings in an observational study of citizens’ evaluations of the U.S. Senators from their state. We also find that the polarizing effects of ideological differences can be largely mitigated with biographical information about the public officials, which suggests that the pernicious consequences of ideological polarization can be overcome by focusing on matters other than political disagreement.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 28, 2015

References

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