What Moves the "Unmoved Mover"? Operational Ideology and Party Identification

58 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2014

See all articles by Philip Chen

Philip Chen

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Paul Goren

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that partisanship is the “unmoved mover” in the minds of American voters. Revisionist theories hold that party updating is conditional on individual/contextual factors. By delimiting the scope conditions of the Michigan model, conditional models of party revision do not fundamentally challenge the classic view. This paper proffers an unconditional model of party revision. We theorize that beliefs about government activism –– operational ideology –– are widely available, heuristically efficacious, and easily mapped onto party labels. As such, operational ideology should drive party updating. Using data from eight panel studies covering 1990-2012, we demonstrate that (1) party shapes operational ideology; (2) operational ideology shapes party; (3) the ideology-to-party effects are much larger than party-to-ideology effects; and (4) political awareness does not condition these relationships. These results push the revisionist model of party farther than it has gone before and suggest operational ideology is a core predisposition in mass belief systems.

Keywords: party identification, operational ideology, belief systems, polarization, sorting

Suggested Citation

Chen, Philip and Goren, Paul, What Moves the "Unmoved Mover"? Operational Ideology and Party Identification (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2451876

Philip Chen (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities ( email )

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Paul Goren

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis ( email )

110 Wulling Hall, 86 Pleasant St, S.E.
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612 626 7489 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.polisci.umn.edu/people/profile.php?UID=pgoren

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