The Ambivalent Partisan: How Critical Loyalty Promotes Democracy

Hardcover | November 14, 2012

byHoward G. Lavine, Christopher D. Johnston, Marco R. Steenbergen

not yet rated|write a review
Over the past half century, two overarching questions have dominated the study of mass political behavior: How do ordinary citizens form their political judgments, and how good are those judgments from a normative perspective? The authors of The Ambivalent Partisan offer a novel approach tothese questions, one in which political reasoning is viewed as arising from trade-offs among three generally conflicting psychological goals: making decisions easily, getting them right, and maintaining cognitive consistency. Taking aim at decades of received wisdom, the central claim of this book is that high-quality political judgment hinges less on citizens' cognitive ability than on their willingness to temporarily suspend partisan habits and follow the "evidence" wherever it leads. This occurs most readily whencitizens experience a disjuncture between their stable political identities and their contemporary evaluations of party performance, a state the authors refer to as partisan ambivalence. Drawing on both experimental and survey methods - as well as five decades of American political history - theauthors demonstrate that compared to other citizens, ambivalent partisans perceive the political world accurately, form their policy preferences in a principled manner, and communicate those preferences by making issues an important component of their electoral decisions. The book's most important conclusion is that a non-trivial portion of the electorate manages to escape the vicissitudes of apathy or wanton bias, and it is these citizens - these ambivalent partisans - who reliably approximate a desirable standard of democratic citizenship.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$76.95

Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Over the past half century, two overarching questions have dominated the study of mass political behavior: How do ordinary citizens form their political judgments, and how good are those judgments from a normative perspective? The authors of The Ambivalent Partisan offer a novel approach tothese questions, one in which political reason...

Howard Lavine is Arleen C. Carlson Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He is the 2004 winner of the Erik H. Erikson Award for Early Career Research Achievement in Political Psychology (from the International Society of Political Psychology), former co-editor of the journal Political Psychology, past...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 14, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199772754

ISBN - 13:9780199772759

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Ambivalent Partisan: How Critical Loyalty Promotes Democracy

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

1. Partisan Ambivalence and the Contingent Nature of Political Judgment2. Getting it Right, Making it Easy, and Validating Our Partisan Commitments: A Motivational Theory of Political Judgment3. Matters of Conceptualization, Measurement, and Antecedents4. Partisan Ambivalence and Preference Formation: Experimental and Survey Evidence5. Ambivalence and the Partisan Perceptual Screen6. Ambivalent Partisans at the Polls7. Unmoved Mover or Rational Choice?: Ambivalence and the Dynamic Nature of Partisanship8. Partisan Ambivalence, Citizen Competence, and American Democracy