Political Behavior

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 23–51 | Cite as

Cross Pressure Scores: An Individual-Level Measure of Cumulative Partisan Pressures Arising from Social Group Memberships

  • Ted Brader
  • Joshua A. Tucker
  • Andrew Therriault
Original Paper


Early studies of voting behavior hypothesized that the degree to which an individual was “cross-pressured” might affect how she participates in politics. However, attention to this topic waned before returning in recent years, mainly within the narrower confines of social networks analysis. In an effort to encourage broader consideration of the role of cross-pressures in political behavior, we present a new approach to estimating cross-pressures that (1) is individual-specific, (2) reflects the cumulative cross-pressures faced by an individual from her many intersecting social strata and group memberships, irrespective of the mechanism by which those pressures are experienced, and (3) can be estimated using widely-available data in party systems of any size, thus making it easier to study the effect of cross-pressures cross-nationally and over time. We demonstrate that these estimates are robust to many estimation choices, correspond well to existing measures of cross-pressures, and are correlated with patterns of political engagement and participation predicted by extant theories.


Cross pressures Social groups Partisanship Political participation Measurement Political behavior United States Poland 



We thank Chris Achen, Larry Bartels, Will Bullock, Yanna Krupnikov, Dean Lacy, Adam Seth Levine, Devra Moehler, Jonathan Nagler, participants in the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (Princeton) workshop, and especially the editors and anonymous reviewers, for their thoughtful feedback on earlier drafts. Therriault’s work on this project was supported in part by a research fellowship from the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University. All statistical analysis was conducted using the Stata and R software packages.

Supplementary material

11109_2013_9222_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (370 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 369 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ted Brader
    • 1
  • Joshua A. Tucker
    • 2
  • Andrew Therriault
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Political StudiesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Lightbox AnalyticsLos AngelesUSA

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