Intraparty Polarization in American Politics (with Eric Groenendyk and Michael W. Sances; forthcoming in the Journal of Politics; https://doi.org/10.1086/708780)
We know that elite polarization and mass sorting have led to an explosion of hostility between parties, but how do Republicans and Democrats feel toward their own respective parties? Have these trends led to more cohesion or more division within parties? Using the American National Election Studies (ANES) time series, we first show that intraparty polarization between ideologically extreme and ideologically moderate partisans is on the rise. Second, we demonstrate that this division within parties has important implications for how we think about affective polarization between parties. Specifically, the distribution of relative affect between parties has not become bimodal, but merely dispersed. Thus, while the mean partisan has become affectively polarized, the modal partisan has not. These results suggest polarization and sorting may be increasing the viability of third-party candidates and making realignment more likely.
The Political Consequences of Personality Biases in Online Panel Surveys (with Nicholas A. Valentino, D. Sunshine Hillygus, and Brian Guay; forthcoming in Public Opinion Quarterly; working paper version)
Online surveys now represent a large segment of the academic and commercial opinion research markets due to their low cost and flexibility. A growing literature examines the implications of online surveys for data quality, most commonly by comparing demographic and political characteristics of different samples. Psychological differences between samples collected online and via more traditional modes have received less attention. In this paper, we explore the possibility that personality may affect participation rates online versus face-to-face. Specifically, we hypothesize that online surveys, compared to face-to-face surveys, might be less attractive to respondents who are high in openness to experience. As openness to experience has been linked to liberal policy positions, such differences have the potential to produce dissimilar estimates of public opinion between face-to-face and online surveys. Using data from the 2012 and 2016 dual-mode American National Election Studies, we compare responses to identical survey questions across the parallel face-to-face and online samples. We find that respondents in the online samples were, on average, less open to experience and more politically conservative on a variety of issues compared to their face-to-face counterparts. This was true especially in 2012, when online respondents were drawn from a large panel of experienced survey takers. The implications of these findings for using relatively inexpensive online samples for estimating mass policy opinion are discussed.
Revisiting the Measurement of Group Schemas in Political Science (with Nicholas A. Valentino; forthcoming in The Cambridge Handbook of Implicit Bias and Racism; working paper version)
While schema theory motivated the original measures of automatic cognitive associations between constructs in memory, researchers soon modified these to tap a different construct: implicit attitudes about social groups that elude standard self-reports. As the so-called implicit attitude revolution gained steam, the original measurement goal got much less attention, especially in political science. We believe the schema concept—multiple automatic cognitive associations between features of an attitude object—continues to hold great value for political psychology. We offer a retrofit of the popular implicit association test (IAT), one more efficient than many lexical tasks, to tap these associations in surveys. The new technique captures the degree to which citizens link ideas about ostensibly group-neutral policies to particular social categories. We then dive back into the debate about the psychological mechanisms underlying group-centrism in politics, an effort that was largely abandoned due to difficulties in measurement. Results from four studies offer practical suggestions about the application of implicit measures for capturing the automatic ways people think about groups in politics. We conclude by discussing the broader promise of implicit measurement of group schemas, not just implicit affect, for political psychology.
Militant Internationalism and Dogmatism among Foreign Policy Elites: Evidence from Russia, 1995–2016 (published in Post-Soviet Affairs; https://doi.org/10.1080/1060586X.2019.1662199)
Are foreign policy attitudes among Russian elites structured around broader beliefs about the nature of world politics? Are these attitudes consistently related to individual cognitive styles? I address these questions using survey data on the Russian foreign policy elite spanning most of the post-Soviet period. In my analysis, I focus on militant internationalism—a hawkish foreign policy orientation—and its relationship to the dogmatic cognitive style. The internal structure of militant internationalism among Russian elites reveals two constituent dimensions: perception of threat from the United States (anti-Americanism) and acceptance of using armed force abroad (militarism). I also demonstrate that militarism is positively related to dogmatism, whereas anti-Americanism appears to be more volatile. This analysis represents the first attempt to study elites’ views on foreign policy within the motivated cognition framework using survey data from outside of the United States.
Nativist but not Alienated: A Comparative Perspective on the Radical Right Vote in Western Europe (published in Party Politics; https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068813511379)
In the present study I use large-scale survey data to compare radical right voting to other forms of electoral behavior in Western Europe. The chosen method, multilevel multinomial logistic regression, allows, first, distinguishing among voting for several party families as well as abstention and, second, controlling for differences between countries and survey rounds. I find that the radical right electorate is not characterized by social alienation or anti-modern values; these characteristics are more likely to be encountered among people who abstain from elections. Radical right voting is most strongly motivated by political attitudes, namely by negative perception of immigration, political mistrust, opposition to income redistribution, and—rather unexpectedly—political satisfaction. My analysis also shows that radical right parties in different West European countries attract voters with similar ideological orientations which remain relatively stable over time. In the conclusion I discuss the implications of my findings for comparative research on the radical right party family.
Perceptions of World Politics and Support for Terrorism among Muslims: Evidence from Muslim Countries and Western Europe (with Maykel Verkuyten and Jeroen Weesie; published in Conflict Management and Peace Science; https://doi.org/10.1177/0738894213510121)
Focusing on Muslim populations in five Muslim-majority countries and four Western European countries, we examine the correlates of popular support for terrorist violence. In both samples, support for terrorism is stronger among those who see democracy as a Western political system which is not suitable for Muslim societies. Perceived Western economic dominance is related to more support for terrorism among Muslims in Western Europe. In the Muslim countries, blaming the West for negative international relations is associated with greater support for terrorism. The associations found are remarkably similar across the Western European countries but vary considerably across the Muslim countries, preventing generalized interpretations. Nevertheless, our findings indicate that perceptions about world politics represent an important factor of pro-terrorist views among Muslims. Therefore, we suggest that improvement of the relationships between the West and the Muslim world can reduce support for terrorism.
Racialized Images of Immigrant Origin Groups and Their Political Implications: Evidence from the United States and Britain (available upon request)
Empirical research consistently demonstrates the importance of racial attitudes in structuring public opinion and political behavior. However, recent survey experiments have found that racial cues do not affect immigration policy preferences across developed democracies beyond signaling immigrants’ skills and readiness to assimilate. In this paper, I suggest that the perceived racial distance between immigrants and natives impacts attitudes toward immigration. Using the schematic approach to social cognition, I argue that mental associations (schemas) linking race and immigration are formed on the level of entire groups, not individual immigrants. I also develop original instruments to measure these schemas both implicitly and explicitly. Using two original survey studies carried out in the U.S. and Britain, I demonstrate that respondents in the two countries have highly racialized schemas of the major immigrant groups. Further, these schemas are significantly related to prejudice, attitudes toward immigration, and partisan affect. The results confirm that perceptions of immigrants as racially distinct plays an important role in anti-immigration attitudes, beyond serving as a cue for economic or cultural characteristics of immigrants.
Elites’ Messages, Social Conformity, and Reduction of Prejudice: An Experimental Test of the Political Leadership Model (with Maykel Verkuyten and Eduard Ponarin; available upon request)
A positive association between authoritarianism and anti-immigrant prejudice is well documented in political science. However, the core component of authoritarianism—social conformity and deference to leaders—may also create conditions for authoritarians to express non-prejudiced attitudes. Building upon recent theoretical and empirical contributions, we put forward a model postulating that pro-immigrant messages from political elites can reduce anti-immigrant prejudice specifically among conformists. We test this hypothesis using an original survey experiment on a national probability sample from the Netherlands. In agreement with the proposed model, we find that conformists indeed accept elites’ messages independent of their content, thus producing indirect—although small—effects of conformity on anti-immigrant prejudice corresponding to the message character.
Rethinking Measurement Invariance: The Neglected Role of Within-Country Dispersions (with Christian Welzel and Ronald F. Inglehart; available upon request)
A growing number of studies test key constructs used in cross-national research for invariance across countries and declare that these constructs are incomparable if the invariance tests fail. The unproven assumption underlying this conclusion is that between-country differences in within-country factor solutions reflect culturally conditioned differences in the meanings of the questions on which the constructs are based. Testing this assumption, we use a Bayesian approach to show that variance in measurement models is not necessarily produced by culturally conditioned differences in meanings. Instead, between-country differences in factor solutions often reflect differences between the within-country dispersions of the construct items. Specifically, we demonstrate that bounded survey response scales enforce a mathematical relationship between extreme country means, low within-country dispersions, and weak factor solutions. Our contribution calls in question the existing practice of declaring constructs to be incomparable on the basis of failed invariance tests.
Blue is Black and Red is White? Affective Polarization and the Racialized Schemas of U.S. Party Coalitions (with Nicholas A. Valentino; winner of the Best Paper in Political Behavior award from the Midwest Political Science Association; link)
Growing antipathy between supporters of the two major U.S. parties, a phenomenon labeled affective polarization, has been well documented. One of the most compelling explanations for this trend concerns partisan sorting on the basis of a host of salient group identities in the electorate, including religion, class, ideology, race and perhaps others. We suspect a narrower catalyst is at work: affective polarization is driven mostly by the increasing overlap between racial and partisan schemas in the mind of the average citizen. We test the implications of this claim using three studies. First, time series evidence from the American National Election Studies reveals the influence of racial attitudes on partisan affect has grown more rapidly than that of non-racial attitudes. Second, an original implicit-association test demonstrates respondents with racialized party schemas display much more affective polarization. Third, matches between a respondent’s race and their perception of party produce more affective polarization, unlike perceived matches between parties and religious or class identity.
Discriminating between Issue Voting Rules in Multiparty Elections Using Finite Mixture Modeling (link)
How do citizens of democratic polities translate their policy preferences into voting choices? Proximity and directional theories of issue voting offer different answers to this question that have strong implications for parties’ strategies. Controlled scenarios in imaginary two-candidate contests recently gained popularity as a method to identify proximity and directional voters. However, they are not always applicable in comparative research where scholars often have to study multiparty elections with observational data. In the present paper, I propose a method of probabilistically discriminating between issue voting rules based on finite mixture modeling. Using a paradigmatic case in the proximity–directional debate, I demonstrate that the mixture model describes observed voting choices better than the alternatives. I also show how finite mixture modeling can be used to study individual-level characteristics of proximity and directional voters. The proposed method can be applied to study issue voting rules from the comparative perspective.
Work in Progress
Conjoint Measurement of Multidimensional Stereotypes (poster presented at PolMeth XXXVI; link)
Conjoint experiments were introduced to political methodology relatively recently but quickly gained popularity as a powerful and flexible analytical tool. Originally, the conjoint design was used to understand choices via stated preferences but recently researchers started applying them to measure respondents’ beliefs about social and political groups, i.e. stereotypes. In such applications, respondents are asked not to choose the preferred variant but rather to rate profile likelihood of belonging to the categories of interest, such as Democrat vs. Republican. Estimated average marginal component effect in such conjoint experiment effectively represents a measure of the corresponding stereotype in the population: strength of a cognitive linkage between a specific attribute and a social group. These measures incorporate the key strengths of the conjoint design: ability to disentangle different dimensions of group stereotypes as well as less pronounced concerns related to social desirability and demand effects. Scholars, however, are often interested in understanding how such stereotypes affect political attitudes and behaviors. Conducting inferential analyses that can address these questions requires obtaining individual-level estimates of stereotypes. Since respondents in conjoint experiments are asked to rate multiple profiles, estimating individual-level effects of various attributes on the ratings of interest using person-by-person analysis is possible. In my study, I use conjoint experiments to measure individual-level stereotypes about immigrants in the U.S. and, then, use these stereotypes to predict respondents’ attitudes toward immigration. I demonstrate that, compared to conventional measures of stereotypes, the conjoint-based measure reveals stronger effects of stereotypes about immigrants’ race/ethnicity on immigration policy preferences—most likely, due to diminished social desirability biases in the conjoint-based measure.