The Continuing Saga of Party Polarization

by John Sides on April 24, 2012 · 3 comments

in Campaigns and elections,Political Economy

Of course, Democrats and Republicans are becoming increasingly polarized in their views of Romney.  From Gallup:

This trend will likely continue.

Most interesting is the recent partisan polarization in views of the economy.  Again, from Gallup:

In September 2011, Democrats and Republicans were 24 points apart on the economic confidence index.  Now they are 53 points apart.  Put differently, a lot of the increase in economic confidence is coming from the president’s party.


lej April 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

the second chart points to an interesting question: if, as much research shows, it is really perceptions of the economy that determine individual-level decision about vote choice, how come that partisan differences seem to account for so much of the differences in perceptions of the economy? in other words: if the idea of economic voting is based economic perceptions driving vote choice, doesn’t the chart suggest that this logic is somewhat circular?

John Sides April 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Yes, the relationship between individual-level economic perceptions and vote choice is no doubt complicated by possible endogeneity — whereby vote choice is essentially driving perceptions. See Robert Erikson on this:

Scott April 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Well, once the economy is no longer unambiguously bad, there’s more room for partisan motivations.

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