Denver McNeney

McGill University

Department of Political Science
Program: PhD
Supervisor: Dietlind Stolle
Co-supervisor: Elisabeth Gidengil
Start: 2011
End: 2016

Title: The Four Worlds of Political Life: How Political Sophistication and Strength of Partisanship Shape Voters’ Reaction to Politics

Denver McNeney's work builds upon Zaller's (1992) reception-acceptance axiom to examine how political sophistication interacts with partisanship to shape voters' responses to and perception of political life. Using data from the 1988, 2006, and 2008 Canadian federal elections and the 2000 and 2008 U.S. Presidential elections, this work identifies four kinds of voters that respond to political life in distinct ways: the minimal effects of highly sophisticated, highly partisan voters; the learning dynamics of highly partisan, low sophistication voters; the priming effects of less partisan but highly sophisticated voters; and the simple retrospective reward and punish models of less partisan, low sophistication voters driven by myopic and ephemeral considerations.