Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 15 > Issue 2

Partisan Intoxication or Policy Voting?

Anthony Fowler, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago, USA, anthony.fowler@uchicago.edu
Suggested Citation
Anthony Fowler (2020), "Partisan Intoxication or Policy Voting?", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 15: No. 2, pp 141-179. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00018027a

Publication Date: 09 Apr 2020
© 2020 A. Fowler
Elections,  Democracy,  Elections,  Electoral behavior,  Political parties,  Political psychology
Partisanshippolicy preferencesvote choiceidentity votingpolicy voting


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In this article:
Cola Identification: An Analogy 
Attempts at Better Identification 
Do Issue Positions Affect Vote Choices or Vice Versa? 
The 2016 Presidential Election 
Southern Realignment 
Randomizing Candidate Characteristics in Hypothetical Elections 
Discussion and Conclusion 


Many political scientists believe that partisanship is an arbitrary psychological attachment that exerts a drug-like effect on voters' decisions. An implication is that voters don't care much about policy or government performance, and instead, elections are just a roll call of intoxicated partisans. I review and reassess the evidence for this view, concluding that there is no compelling evidence to support it. For many empirical tests, partisan intoxication and policy voting are observationally equivalent. Rare opportunities to partially distinguish between these possibilities like the southern realignment suggest that policy voting is more prevalent. When I conduct new tests utilizing survey experiments about hypothetical candidates, the weight of the evidence favors policy voting.



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