A social group theory of mass partisanship
Cicenia, Daniel Anthony
MetadataShow full item record
This study uses Social Identity Theory to examine the nature of partisanship in the American electorate. My theory states that many voters now shape their political world through identification with a political social group. For such individuals, their worldview is shaped by a “social identity” with similar like-minded voters who share a very deep and personal policy concerns, centering on a category of issues that most affects the social group’s interests. The key component for group identification is the individual’s self-awareness of membership, and their psychological attachment to the group and its policy demands (Conover, 1984). In fact, the individual’s identification with this issue’s policy demands and like-minded cohorts is so strong that it supplants the individual’s positions on other non-related issues and eventually their partisan identification. Data from the 2000 American National Election is used to test this theory. A test was run to determine whether social group identifiers are more likely to be strong partisans than demographic groups typically aligned under the New Deal party system. Additionally, a test was run to determine whether voters who identify with multiple groups, with one associated with each party were more likely to be weak partisans and independents.