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The Ambivalent PartisanHow Critical Loyalty Promotes Democracy$
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Howard G. Lavine, Christopher D. Johnston, and Marco R. Steenbergen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199772759

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199772759.001.0001

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Ambivalence and the Partisan Perceptual Screen

Ambivalence and the Partisan Perceptual Screen

(p.121) Chapter 5 Ambivalence and the Partisan Perceptual Screen
The Ambivalent Partisan

Howard G. Lavine

Christopher D. Johnston

Marco R. Steenbergen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 applies the ambivalence model to perceptions of objective political and economic conditions. The chapter demonstrates that univalent (i.e. non-ambivalent) partisans show substantial biases in their perceptions of economic performance, the policy stands of candidates, the roll-call behavior of legislators, and crime rates. Ambivalent partisans, by contrast, update their beliefs about political reality in response to actual changes, and show little partisan bias. Furthermore, while traditional “engagement” variables (e.g. political interest) have countervailing effects on bias (i.e., they heighten both bias and responsiveness), partisan ambivalence has cumulative effects, simultaneously decreasing bias and increasing responsiveness.

Keywords:   biased perceptions, responsiveness, economic perceptions, partisan bias, partisan ambivalence

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