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Do Improving Conditions Harden Partisan Preferences? Lived Experiences, Imagined Communities, and Polarized Evaluations

Jiyoun Suk Orcid Logo, Dhavan V Shah, Chris Wells, Michael W Wagner, Lewis A Friedland, Katherine J Cramer, Ceri Hughes, Charles Franklin

International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Volume: 32, Issue: 4, Pages: 750 - 768

Swansea University Author: Ceri Hughes

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DOI (Published version): 10.1093/ijpor/edz051

Abstract

Despite growing attention to an increasing partisan divide and populist voting, little attention has been directed at how social contexts might encourage greater or lesser political polarization. We address this gap by studying how county-level conditions—economic resilience, population change, and...

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Published in: International Journal of Public Opinion Research
ISSN: 0954-2892 1471-6909
Published: Oxford University Press (OUP) 2020
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa60715
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Abstract: Despite growing attention to an increasing partisan divide and populist voting, little attention has been directed at how social contexts might encourage greater or lesser political polarization. We address this gap by studying how county-level conditions—economic resilience, population change, and community health—intersect with individuals’ political orientations and communication patterns to shape partisan evaluations. Our context is Wisconsin around the 2012 election, with our focus on two prominent political figures: Governor Scott Walker and President Barack Obama. Multilevel modeling reveals that partisans living in counties with more affluent, less precarious conditions during 2009–2012 exhibited more polarized partisan attitudes toward Walker and Obama. Our analysis also finds a significant role for interpersonal communication and digital media in shaping polarized attitudes.
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Funders: The work was supported by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with funding from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (UW2020 Program).
Issue: 4
Start Page: 750
End Page: 768