The Social Nature of Partisan Identity
Leonie Huddy (Stony Brook University)
You can learn more about Professor Huddy by clicking here
Abstract: There is growing evidence that partisanship is a powerful social identity in both US and Western Europe democracies. This holds both good and bad normative news. On one hand, strong partisans are defensive, conform to party norms, and dislike partisans of competing parties. On the other, they are more politically engaged and are especially likely to get involved in election campaigns working on behalf of their party. In this experimental study, we explore the conditions under which partisan animosity can be ameliorated without undermining strong partisan identities, contrasting two key approaches to the study of partisanship. From an instrumental perspective, the growing negativity between Democrats and Republicans is due to increased ideological differences between the parties. In contrast, an expressive approach attributes the origins of partisan antipathy to the protection of group status in response to partisan threats and insults (Huddy et al 2005). In the current experiment, 600 MTurk workers are exposed to information that Democrat and Republican leaders have amicable or hostile relations, and that Republicans and Democrats are in conflict or agreement over a key policy issue.
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This series is sponsored by the Inter-university Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, which is funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC).