Political Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 155–177

Black and white perceptions of party differences

  • James M. Glaser

DOI: 10.1007/BF01498812

Cite this article as:
Glaser, J.M. Polit Behav (1995) 17: 155. doi:10.1007/BF01498812


Despite a comparative disadvantage vis-à-vis whites in resources like education that often are considered to lead to political sophistication, African Americans show signs of being a rather politically sophisticated group of people. Given that better educated people are much more likely than those with less education to see larger differences between Democrats and Republicans, the propensity for blacks to perceive larger differences between the parties, both in general and on specific issues, is striking. This puzzle is explained by the fact that education has a huge impact on seeing partisan differences for whites, but not for blacks. That this understanding of the structure of American politics has so completely penetrated black public opinion is quite remarkable. Strength of partisanship, and to a lesser degree, racial consciousness, appear to be largely responsible for blacks (particularly less educated blacks) perceiving such stark party differences.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Glaser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceTufts UniversityMedford