Political Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 197-222

First online:

Short-Term Forces and Partisanship

  • Jonathan A. CowdenAffiliated withDepartment of Government, Cornell University
  • , Rose M. McDermottAffiliated withDepartment of Government, Cornell University

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One of the most intriguing aspects of the debate regarding the persistence of party identification is that proponents of different schools of thought have each managed to use the same quasi-experimental data and similar state of the art techniques to defend their point of view. In this article we argue that this debate cannot be resolved with quasi-experimental data alone and propose another method that we believe can help us triangulate in on the correct answer: experimentation. Two experiments are performed and analyzed. The first tests the hypothesis that party identification is updated in response to the vote choice; the second tests the hypothesis that candidate evaluations influence party choices. The results of our experiments provide some additional support for the traditional conception of partisanship as the unmoved mover of American politics.

party identification short-term forces experiment