A Uniter and a Divider: American Presidential Campaigns and Partisan Perceptions of the National Economy

Published on 2019-09-21T12:07:37Z (GMT) by
<div><p>Do American presidential campaigns polarize or unify partisan perceptions? I propose that they do both, where the balance of these countervailing forces varies by context. Campaign messages enable partisan differences, especially in battleground states, but campaigns also promote social contexts that foster accuracy motives and reduce the effects of partisan biases nationwide. After documenting panel data evidence of campaign trends toward unity, further tests compare the national effects of campaign engagement with the local effects of campaign intensity using daily survey data on national economic evaluations. In support of the countervailing forces framework, national engagement in presidential campaigns generally increased levels of cross-partisan agreement by campaign’s end, but local campaign intensity enhanced partisan differences in rate of responsiveness to the campaign. Although targeted campaigns reduced unifying effects in many states, presidential campaigns typically have a net unifying effect on American economic perceptions, thereby strengthening economic voting.</p></div>

Cite this collection

D. Smidt, Corwin (2019): A Uniter and a Divider: American Presidential Campaigns and Partisan Perceptions of the National Economy. SAGE Journals. Collection. https://doi.org/10.25384/SAGE.c.4674182.v1