Popular Interpretations of ‘Corruption’ and their Partisan Consequences

Popular Interpretations of ‘Corruption’ and their Partisan Consequences Using a large six-city exit poll from 2000, we examine popular judgments of what constitutes “political corruption” in the United States. We find two distinct evaluative dimensions: corruption understood as lawbreaking, and corruption as favoritism. These judgments are heavily conditioned by the voter’s socioeconomic background and are politically consequential. Subjective understandings of “corruption” shape perceptions of how much corruption actually exists in government. Furthermore, and more importantly, these normative assessments play a significant part in voting decisions. Individuals who judged illegal activities such as bribe-taking to be “corrupt” were more inclined to back one of the major party candidates in 2000; those who believed that favoritism in politics was “corrupt” (e.g., an official recommending an unemployed friend for a government job) were more likely to vote for Al Gore or Ralph Nader. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Popular Interpretations of ‘Corruption’ and their Partisan Consequences

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-005-4469-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Using a large six-city exit poll from 2000, we examine popular judgments of what constitutes “political corruption” in the United States. We find two distinct evaluative dimensions: corruption understood as lawbreaking, and corruption as favoritism. These judgments are heavily conditioned by the voter’s socioeconomic background and are politically consequential. Subjective understandings of “corruption” shape perceptions of how much corruption actually exists in government. Furthermore, and more importantly, these normative assessments play a significant part in voting decisions. Individuals who judged illegal activities such as bribe-taking to be “corrupt” were more inclined to back one of the major party candidates in 2000; those who believed that favoritism in politics was “corrupt” (e.g., an official recommending an unemployed friend for a government job) were more likely to vote for Al Gore or Ralph Nader.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 10, 2005

References

  • Corruption, political allegiances, and attitudes toward government in contemporary democracies
    Anderson, Christopher J.; Tverdova, Yuliya V.

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