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Partisanship, Political Knowledge, and Changing Economic Conditions
Lawrence, Christopher

Uploaded 05-18-2012
Keywords political knowledge
party identification
hierarchical modeling
economic voting
public opinion
political sophistication
ANES 2008-09 Panel
Abstract Existing research is replete with evidence that individuals’ perceptions of the state of the economy are seemingly only loosely connected to more objective evaluations of its state and are contaminated by partisan influences. This paper provides further evidence of why these partisan influences come about, by advancing the hypothesis that citizen political knowledge moderates the effect of partisanship on economic evaluations, grounded in Zaller’s Receive-Accept-Sample model of opinion formation and articulation. The paper also advances the hypothesis that more knowledgeable partisans will respond to changes in elite messaging regarding the economy fairly rapidly after a change in control of the government. I examine these propositions using data from the ANES panel study of public opinion between January 2008 and June 2010, and find evidence affirming the essential interactive role of knowledge and partisanship in the formation and articulation of evaluations of the national economy.

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