Voting with the crowd: do single issues drive partisanship?

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We examine whether survey data supports the anecdotal evidence which suggests that group association impacts the individual's stated beliefs. Specifically, we examine whether a rise in the relative importance of a single issue, i.e. national security, blurs the traditional importance of socio-economic variables in determining an electorate's political party association. Further, we examine whether such blurring occurs across the responses to questions outside the scope of this single issue. We find that in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the relative importance of national security rose in the US electorate and reduced the relative importance of socio-economic variables in determining the electorate's political association for both security and nonsecurity issues.

Keywords: D19; H40; conformity; elections; group preferences; voting preferences

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Economics,The College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795Williamsburg,VA 23187-8795, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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