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Week 4 - Analyzing Political Polarization

Section Objectives

  • Explain and utilize a causal inference framework to construct, discuss, and critically analyze research arguments.
  • Discuss Chapter 8, Iyengar and McGrady (2011), specifically the two-factor theory of persuasion.
  • Present and discuss three theories about the influence of elite polarization on mass public polarization.
  • Analyze Fiorina and Abrams (2010), and link it to theories of party sorting that argue that mass polarization has not occured.
  • Analyze Abramowitz (2010), and link it to theories of mass public polarization that argue differences in opinions among partisans indicates polarization.
  • Analyze Iyengar and Westwood (2015), and link it to theories of affective polarization that argue polarization manifests in emotional and social distance.

Key Terms and Concepts

  • Affective Polarization
  • Ideology
  • Mass Polarization
  • Party Affiliation
  • Party Identification
  • Party Sorting
  • Persuasion
  • Polarization
  • Social Distance
  • Two-Factor Theory of Persuasion

Section Slides

**See attached .pdf file.

Summaries of Selected Weekly Readings

Author Puzzle Hypothesis Dependent Variable Independent Variable(s)
Iyengar & McGrady (2011)

How are individuals persuaded by news media, campaign messages, or information?

 

Two-Factor Theory of Persuasion:

Message-related factors  influence whether a message is properly delivered. Receiver-related factors influence how messages are accepted.

Voter Public Opinion and Attitudes  Message-related factors, Receiver-related factors
 

How has polarization affected the mass public?

Party Sorting Theory

The number moderates has not decreased and the number of party members same, so no polarization exists.

Partisan Self-Identifcation Elite Polarization
 

How has polarization affected the mass public?

 Mass Polarization Theory

There are differences in policy views between voters in both parties, so polarization exists.

Differences in Partisan Policy Opinions Elite Polarization
  How has polarization affected the mass public?

 Affective Polarization Theory

 Voters harbor negative sentiment, feelings or emotions towards the out-party, so polarization exists.

Affect, Social Distance Elite Polarization
Fiorina and Abrams (2010)

 How does elite polarization influence the polarization of voters?

Stable voter partisan affiliation should indicate elite polarization doesn’t lead voters to polarize.

Partisan Self-Identification  Elite Polarization

 
Abramowitz (2010)  How does elite polarization influence the polarization of voters? Increase in polarized opinions of voters indicates increase in mass polarization Differences in Partisan Opinions Elite Polarization
Iyengar and Westwood (2015) How does elite polarization influence the polarization of voters? Increase in social identity and partisan affect implies an increase in mass polarization

Affect, Social Distance

Elite Polarization