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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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Unmoved Mover or Running Tally?

Unmoved Mover or Running Tally?

Ambivalence and the Dynamic Nature of Partisanship

(p.181) Chapter 7 Unmoved Mover or Running Tally?
The Ambivalent Partisan

Howard G. Lavine

Christopher D. Johnston

Marco R. Steenbergen

Oxford University Press

There is a long-running debate in political science about the nature and functioning of mass partisanship. The traditional conceptualization holds that partisan identity is the most stable and exogenous of all political predispositions; it is the “unmoved mover” of political behavior. The revisionist conceptualization holds that partisanship is unstable and responsive to party performance and policy agreement. Chapter 7 enters into this debate by offering a third alternative: that partisanship is conceptually heterogeneous, and that its variation is driven principally by partisan ambivalence. Specifically, the chapter demonstrates that when party and issue positions conflict, and when those issues are salient, univalent partisans will change their policy preferences to accommodate their partisan identities, whereas ambivalent partisans often switch parties to achieve consistency. Once again, traditional engagement variables show little moderating impact on this dynamic.

Keywords:   partisanship, ambivalence, partisan dynamics, unmoved mover

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