From Foe to Friend and Back Again: The Temporal Dynamics of Intra-Party bias in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
38 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2016 Last revised: 29 Mar 2019
Date Written: March 27, 2019
Political identification is the basis of enduring conflict, suggesting that political attitudes are difficult to change. Here we show that in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, political identities underwent striking modification in response to salient political events. We investigate these dynamics in detail by collecting data at regular intervals from mid-June 2016 through the general election, N = 3,958. We operationalize identification using prosocial giving between supporters of competing primary candidates recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk. Party dynamics differed dramatically. In-group bias among Democrats remained high until the Democratic National Convention, disappeared shortly thereafter, and then returned during the final stage of the election. Bias among Republicans was generally high until the final days of the election. Furthermore, giving predicted voting intentions, and potentially offered additional insight beyond polling: the late resurgence of bias among Democrats was not reflected in voting intentions, but may have presaged the Democratic election loss.
Keywords: Elections, Republicans, Democrats, Intra-party bias, Dictator Game
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