Partisan Elites as Culprits? How Party Cues Shape Partisan Perceptual Gaps

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Partisanship colors how citizens perceive real world conditions. For example, an oft-documented finding is that citizens tend to view the state of the national economy more positively if their party holds office. However, little is known about the extent to which these perceptual gaps are shaped by one of the most important forces in politics: partisan elites. We argue and show that partisan perceptual differences are shaped by messages coming from party elites. In two empirical studies focusing on perceptions of the economy -- a quasi-experimental panel study and a randomized experiment -- we find robust and substantial effects of party cues on how partisans interpret economic reality. These findings imply that partisan elites are more influential on, and more responsible for, partisan perceptual differences than previous studies have revealed.
TidsskriftAmerican Journal of Political Science
Sider (fra-til)456–469
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2018


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