Political Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 627–651 | Cite as

The Role of Partisanship in Aggregate Opinion

Original Paper

Abstract

Despite the centrality of party identification in U.S. politics, the effects of partisanship on public opinion remain elusive. In this article, we use monthly economic opinion data disaggregated by partisanship to evaluate the role of party identification on economic perceptions. Using both static and time-varying error correction models, we find strong evidence of partisan bias in the public’s assessment of the state of the economy, and importantly, this bias changes over time. This evidence of the changing influence of partisanship helps reconcile some of the different findings of individual and aggregate level opinion studies. We also examine how the time-varying influence of partisanship affects aggregate public opinion. Specifically, we show that the increased influence of partisanship has led aggregate economic perceptions to respond more slowly to objective economic information.

Keywords

Party identification Partisan bias Time series analysis Public opinion Economic perceptions 

References

  1. Achen, C. (1992). Social psychology, demographic variables, and linear regression: Breaking the iron triangle in voting research. Political Behavior, 14, 195–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barassi, M. R., Caporale, G. M., & Hall, S. G. (2005). Interest rate linkages: A Kalman filter approach to detecting structural change. Economic Modelling, 22, 253–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartels, L. (2002). Beyond the running tally: Partisan bias in political perceptions. Political Behavior, 24, 117–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck, N. (1983). Time-varying regression models. American Journal of Political Science, 27(3), 557–600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beck, N. (1990). Estimating dynamic models using Kalman filtering. Political Analysis, 1, 121–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berelson, B. R., Lazarsfeld, P. F., & McPhee, W. N. (1954). Voting: A study of opinion formation in a presidential campaign. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Binder, S. A. (1999). The dynamics of legislative gridlock, 1947–96. American Political Science Review, 93(3), 519–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Binder, S. A. (2003). Stalemate: Causes and consequences of legislative gridlock. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  9. Box-Steffensmeier, J. M., & Smith, R. M. (1996). The dynamics of aggregate partisanship. American Political Science Review, 90, 567–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bullock, J. G. (2009). Partisan bias and the Bayesian ideal in the study of public opinion. Journal of Politics, 71(3), 1109–1124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., Miller, W. E., & Stokes, D. E. (1960). The American voter. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. Carroll, C. D. (2003). Macroeconomic expectations of households and professional forecasters. Quarterly Journal Of Economics, 118(1), 269–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Boef, S., & Keele, L. (2008). Taking time seriously. American Journal of Political Science, 52(1), 184–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Boef, S., & Kellstedt, P. M. (2004). The political (and economic) origins of consumer confidence. American Journal of Political Science, 48, 633–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Downs, A. (1957). An economic theory of democracy. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  16. Enns, P. K., & Kellstedt, P. M. (2008). Policy mood and political sophistication: Why everybody moves mood. British Journal Of Political Science, 38(Part 3), 433–454.Google Scholar
  17. Eppright, D. R., Arguea, N. M., & Huth, W. L. (1998). Aggregate consumer expectation indexes as indicators of future consumer expenditures. Journal of Economic Psychology, 19, 215–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Erikson, R. S., MacKuen, M. B., & Stimson, J. A. (2002). The macro polity. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Finkel, S. E. (1993). Reexamining the “minimal effects” model in recent presidential campaigns. Journal of Politics, 55, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fiorina, M. (2006). Culture war?: The myth of a polarized America. New York: Pearson Longman.Google Scholar
  21. Fiorina, M. P. (1981). Retrospective voting in American national elections. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Gaines, B. J., Kuklinski, J. H., Quirk, P. J., Peyton, B., & Verkuilen, J. (2007). Same facts, different interpretations: Partisan motivation and opinion on Iraq. Journal of Politics, 69, 957–974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gelman, A., Park, D., Shor, B., & Bafumi, J. (2008). Red state, blue state, rich state, poor state: Why Americans vote the way they do. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gerber, A., & Green, D. (1999). Misperceptions about perceptual bias. Annual Review of Political Science, 2, 189–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gerber, A. S., & Huber, G. A. (2010). Partisanship, political control, and economic assessments. American Journal of Political Science, 54(1), 153–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goren, P. (2002). Character weakness, partisan bias, and presidential evaluation. American Journal of Political Science, 46, 627–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Goren, P. (2007). Character weakness, partisan bias, and presidential evaluation: Modifications and extensions. Political Behavior, 29, 305–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Green, D., Palmquist, B., & Schickler, E. (2002). Partisan hearts and minds: Political parties and the social identities of voters. New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hibbs, D. A., Rivers, D., & Vasilatos, N. (1982). The dynamics of political support for American presidents among occupational and partisan groups. American Journal of Political Science, 26, 312–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Huth, W. L., Eppright, D. R., & Taube, P. M. (1994). The indexes of consumer sentiment and confidence: Leading or misleading guides to future buyer behavior. Journal of Business Research, 29, 199–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Iyengar, S., & Hahn, K. S. (2009). Red media, blue media: Evidence of ideological selectivity in media use. Journal of Communication, 59(1), 19–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jacobson, G. C. (2006). Divider, not a uniter: George W. Bush and the American people. New York: Pearson Longman.Google Scholar
  33. Jacobson, G. C. (2009). The president, the war, and voting behavior in the 2006 House elections. In J. J. Mondak, & D.-G. Mitchell (Eds.), Fault lines, Chap. 7 (pp. 128–147). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Jacoby, W. G. (1988). The impact of party identification on issue attitudes. American Journal of Political Science, 32, 643–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Juster, F. T., & Wachtel, P. (1972). Inflation and the consumer. Brookings Papers on Economic Activities, 1, 71–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kruglanski, A. W., & Webster D. M. (1996). Motivated closing of the mind: ”Seizing” and ”freezing”. Psychological Review, 103(2), 263–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kunda, Z. (1990). The case for motivated reasoning. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 480–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lebo, M. J., & Cassino, D. (2007). The aggregated consequences of motivated reasoning and the dynamics of partisan presidential approval. Political Psychology, 28(6), 719–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lebo, M. J., Walker, R. W., & Clarke, H. D. (2000). You must remember this: Dealing with long memory in political analysis. Electoral Studies, 19, 31–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Levendusky, M. (2009). The partisan sort. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  41. MacKuen, M. B., Erikson, R. S., & Stimson, J. A. (1992). Peasants or bankers: The American electorate and the U.S. economy. American Political Science Review, 86, 597–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mankiw, N. G., & Reis, R. (2002). Sticky information versus sticky prices: A proposal to replace the New Keynesian Phillips curve. Quarterly Journal Of Economics, 117(4), 1295–1328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mankiw, N. G., & Reis, R. (2006). Pervasive stickiness. American Economic Review, 96(2), 164–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Markus, G. B., & Converse, P. E. (1979). A dynamic simultaneous equation model of electoral choice. American Political Science Review, 73, 1055–1070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. McAvoy, G. E. (2006). Stability and change: The time varying impact of economic and foreign policy evaluations on presidential approval. Political Research Quarterly, 59, 71–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McAvoy, G. E., & Enns, P. K. (2010). Using approval of the president’s handling of the economy to understand who polarizes and why. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 40(3), 545-558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McCarty, N., Poole, K. T., & Rosenthal, H. (2006). Polarized America: The dance of ideology and unequal riches. Boston: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  48. Mueller, E. (1966). The impact of unemployment on consumer confidence. Public Opinion Quarterly, 30, 19–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mueller, J. (1973). War, presidents and public opinion. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  50. Norpoth, H. (2001). Divided government and economic voting. Journal of Politics, 63(2), 414–435.Google Scholar
  51. Page, B. I., & Shapiro, R. Y. (1992). The rational public: Fifty years of trends in Americans’ policy preferences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  52. Petris, G., & Petrone, S. (2009). Dynamic linear models With R. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  53. Prior, M. (2007). Post-broadcast democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Shumway, R. H., & Stoffer, D. S. (2006). Time series analysis and its applications: With R examples. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  55. Sigelman, L., & Knight, K. (1985). Public opinion and presidential responsibility for the economy: Understanding personalization. Political Behavior, 7, 167–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stimson, James A. (1999). Public opinion in America: Moods, cycles, and swings (2nd ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  57. Stimson, J. A., MacKuen, M. B., & Erikson, R. S. (1995). Dynamic representation. American Political Science Review, 89, 543–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stokes, D. E. (1966). Some dynamic elements of contests for the presidency. The American Political Science Review, 60, 19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Taber, C. S., Cann, D., & Kucsova, S. (2009). The motivated processing of political arguments. Political Behavior, 31(2), 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Taber, C. S., & Lodge, M. (2006). Motivated skepticism in the evaluation of political beliefs. American Journal of Political Science, 50(3), 755–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wlezien, C. (1995). The public as thermostat: Dynamics of preferences for spending. American Journal of Political Science, 39, 981–1000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wlezien, C., Franklin, M., & Twiggs, D. (1997). Economic perceptions and vote choice: Disentangling the endogeneity. Political Behavior, 999, 7–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zaller, J. R. (1992). The nature and origins of mass opinion. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zellner, A. (1962). An efficient method of estimating seemingly unrelated regressions and tests for aggregation bias. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 57, 348–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

Personalised recommendations