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Friday, May 11, 2012

Civil War

 

Political Polarization Projection: Social Projection of Partisan Attitude Extremity and Attitudinal Processes

Leaf Van Boven; Charles Judd & David Sherman
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
What influences perceptions of political polarization? The authors examine the polarization of people's own political attitudes as a source of perceived polarization: Individuals with more extreme partisan attitudes perceive greater polarization than individuals with less extreme partisan attitudes. This "polarization projection" was demonstrated in 3 studies in which people estimated the distribution of others' political attitudes: one study with a nationally representative sample concerning the 2008 presidential election, and 2 studies concerning university students evaluating a policy regarding scarce resource allocation. These studies demonstrate that polarization projection occurs simultaneously with and independently of simple projection, the tendency to assume that others share one's partisan political attitudes. Polarization projection may occur partly because people assume that others engage in similar attitudinal processes as the self, such as extensive thought and emotional arousal. The projection of various attitudinal processes was demonstrated in a study concerning health care reform policies. Further supporting this explanation, polarization projection increased when people introspected about their own attitudinal processes, which increased the accessibility of those processes. Implications for perceptions of partisanship, social judgment, and civic behavior are discussed.

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One for All: What Representing a Group May Do to Us

Christopher Reinders Folmer et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Collective bargaining, business alliances, diplomacy between nations - interactions between group representatives include topics that may have some of the greatest impact on our lives. Nevertheless, the nature of such interactions is poorly understood. How do representatives approach such interactions? What goals do they pursue, and what expectations do they have of their counterpart? In the present research, we advance a theoretical framework with which to understand the mindset that is activated by the role of representative. In two studies, we measure what goals (Study 1) and expectations (Study 2) become salient in this role, compared with in the related roles of individual or group member. Our findings reveal that representatives may display a more competitive mindset, consisting of more competitive goals and expectations of others. As competition can be harmful, rather than beneficial to the group, care should be taken when relying on representatives, so that we may exploit their strengths while curtailing their weaknesses.

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Right-Wing Politicians Prefer the Emotional Left

Nicole Thomas et al.
PLoS ONE, May 2012

Abstract:
Physiological research suggests that social attitudes, such as political beliefs, may be partly hard-wired in the brain. Conservatives have heightened sensitivity for detecting emotional faces and use emotion more effectively when campaigning. As the left face displays emotion more prominently, we examined 1538 official photographs of conservative and liberal politicians from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States for an asymmetry in posing. Across nations, conservatives were more likely than liberals to display the left cheek. In contrast, liberals were more likely to face forward than were conservatives. Emotion is important in political campaigning and as portraits influence voting decisions, conservative politicians may intuitively display the left face to convey emotion to voters.

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Predicting Drift on Politically Insulated Institutions: A Study of Ideological Drift on the United States Supreme Court

Ryan Owens & Justin Wedeking
Journal of Politics, April 2012, Pages 487-500

Abstract:
Elected officials have difficulty controlling politically insulated institutions, leaving the appointment process as perhaps their most effective means of influence. Yet, history shows that actors on these institutions - especially the Supreme Court - often behave unpredictably. Our goal is to determine whether variation in two components of cognitive style, prior to a justice's nomination to the Court, predicts ideological drift once on the Court. Using linguistic software created by cognitive psychologists, we examined over 1000 speeches, articles, and separate opinions written by Supreme Court justices before they were nominated to the Court. Our results show that justices whose prenomination words revealed cognitive inconsistency drift more than those with stable world views.

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Voting Fluidity and Oral Argument on the U.S. Supreme Court

Eve Ringsmuth, Amanda Bryan & Timothy Johnson
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although scholars have established that oral arguments play a role in Supreme Court decision making, a fundamental question remains: can oral arguments change justices' votes? Using data on the positions taken by Justices Blackmun and Powell prior to oral arguments, the authors seek to answer this question while implicitly addressing another: how effectively can attorneys persuade the Court during arguments dominated by justices attempting to persuade each other? The authors find that in a significant minority of cases, justices are persuaded to switch their vote as a result of oral argument and that high-quality attorneys play a central role in that persuasion.

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Buying Negative Agenda Control in the U.S. House

Jeffery Jenkins & Nathan Monroe
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore the foundations of the legislative party cartel, as theorized by Cox and McCubbins (1993, 2005), to determine how majority-party moderates who suffer net policy losses from the majority leadership's use of negative agenda control are kept from defecting from the cartel arrangement. First, we identify formally the group of majority-party members who are net policy losers. We find that those members occupying the initial 30% of the space within the majority-party blockout zone - that space closest to the floor median - are hurt on a pure policy basis by the cartel arrangement. Second, we find that members in this "30% zone" are rewarded disproportionately by majority-party leaders (relative to members in other intervals on the same side of the floor median) via side payments in the form of campaign contributions. In addition, majority-party members within the 30% zone receive side payments commensurate with their particular policy loss.

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Politicization of Science in the Public Sphere: A Study of Public Trust in the United States, 1974 to 2010

Gordon Gauchat
American Sociological Review, April 2012, Pages 167-187

Abstract:
This study explores time trends in public trust in science in the United States from 1974 to 2010. More precisely, I test Mooney's (2005) claim that conservatives in the United States have become increasingly distrustful of science. Using data from the 1974 to 2010 General Social Survey, I examine group differences in trust in science and group-specific change in these attitudes over time. Results show that group differences in trust in science are largely stable over the period, except for respondents identifying as conservative. Conservatives began the period with the highest trust in science, relative to liberals and moderates, and ended the period with the lowest. The patterns for science are also unique when compared to public trust in other secular institutions. Results show enduring differences in trust in science by social class, ethnicity, gender, church attendance, and region. I explore the implications of these findings, specifically, the potential for political divisions to emerge over the cultural authority of science and the social role of experts in the formation of public policy.

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An Experimental Investigation of the Effects of Celebrity Support for Political Parties in the United States

Anthony Nownes
American Politics Research, May 2012, Pages 476-500

Abstract:
In this study, I report the results of a pretest-posttest, control group experiment in which some of my more than 500 respondents were exposed to factual information about celebrity support for political parties and some were not. I proceed from the assumption that celebrity political activity is more likely to influence citizens' views of political parties than it is to affect either citizens' vote choices or views of individual candidates. I make this assumption based on the work of Green, Palmquist, and Schickler, who posit that party identification is a social identity. The results provide support for this notion. Specifically, they show that celebrity political activity can indeed influence some citizens' views of political parties. The results show also that celebrity political activity can affect citizens' views of politically active celebrities.

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Mapping Dimensions of Conflict at the Federal Convention of 1787

Jeremy Pope & Shawn Treier
Legislative Studies Quarterly, May 2012, Pages 145-174

Abstract:
Previous work on the Federal Convention of 1787 hypothesized multiple dimensions of conflict. We evaluate the dimensionality of conflict using a new method for estimating state delegation positions and proposals that incorporates the many divided votes at the convention. The results suggest that three dimensions are adequate for most analyses and the first dimension - proportional representation in the legislature - the most important. Finally, we examine how the agenda unfolds by mapping changes to the status quo throughout the convention. We conclude that, despite the lack of parties, the nature of the conflict is quite organized with a low number of dimensions.

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How Trust Matters: The Changing Political Relevance of Political Trust

Marc Hetherington & Jason Husser
American Journal of Political Science, April 2012, Pages 312-325

Abstract:
Americans most often think about government in terms of its ability to grapple with issues of redistribution and race. However, the September 11 terrorist attacks led to a massive increase in media attention to foreign affairs, which caused people to think about the government in terms of defense and foreign policy. We demonstrate that such changes in issue salience alter the policy preferences that political trust shapes. Specifically, we show that trust did not affect attitudes about the race-targeted programs in 2004 as it usually does, but instead affected a range of foreign policy and national defense preferences. By merging survey data gathered from 1980 through 2004 with data from media content analyses, we show that, more generally, trust's effects on defense and racial policy preferences, respectively, increase as the media focus more attention in these areas and decrease when that attention ebbs.

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Political liberalism and political conservatism: Functionally independent?

Becky Choma et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political liberalism and conservatism are often conceptualized as opposite ends of the same continuum. Our question was whether these constructs might be better understood as "functionally independent" ideologies. We tested whether liberalism and conservatism, as separable constructs, could be differentially, rather than equally and oppositely, associated with core psychological components of political orientation. Participants (n = 245) completed measures of liberalism, conservatism, and psychological variables relating to preferences for equality versus inequality and social change versus tradition. A bi-dimensional model with separate and moderately correlated liberal and conservative factors best summarized political orientation. Liberalism was distinctly associated with universal orientation and creativity whereas conservatism was related to dogmatism.

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Predicting the Importance of Freedom of Speech and the Perceived Harm of Hate Speech

Daniel Downs & Gloria Cowan
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although freedom of speech is a fundamental value in the United States, individuals vary in the importance they place on it. The purpose of this study was to examine personality and attitudinal factors that may influence an individual's judgments of the importance of freedom of speech and, secondarily, the harm of hate speech. As expected, the importance of freedom of speech was positively related to intellect, individualism, separate knowing, and negatively related to right-wing authoritarianism. Men rated freedom of speech more important than did women. The perceived harm of hate speech was positively related to intellect and liberalism, and women perceived a greater harm of hate speech than did men.

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Media, Risk, and Absence of Blame for "Acts of God": Attenuation of the European Volcanic Ash Cloud of 2010

Adam Burgess
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article analyzes the character, extent, and patterns of media coverage of the 2010 volcanic ash cloud, comparing it with coverage of other major natural hazards, such as Deepwater Horizon. It does so drawing upon sociological themes and concludes that the ash cloud was reported largely in its own terms rather than being amplified as a wider, uncertain threat. As well as the absence of major incident and casualties two interrelated factors are highlighted to explain this result. Emphasizing the importance of hazard duration, the unexpected arrival and short-lived character of the ash cloud was one important factor that limited the potential for sustained media amplification. More broadly, this was an "act of God" with no clear responsible agents. This preliminary study suggests that contemporary media risk narrative requires a focus for institutional blame attribution, and without a plausible candidate amplification may not acquire momentum.

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Crossing party lines: Political identity and partisans' reactions to violating party norms

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, May 2012, Pages 317-332

Abstract:
The current studies examined the experiences of undergraduate political partisans who cross party lines to support a preferred, out-of-party candidate, and thus open themselves to the possibility of being misclassified as a member of a rival political party. Strongly identified partisans who endorsed an out-of-party candidate, and thus expected others to misclassify them, reported heightened threats to belonging and coherence (Study 1), unless they disclaimed rival party status by asserting their political affiliation. In Study 2, strongly identified partisans who could be misclassified were less confident in their choice of an out-of-party candidate compared to partisans who asserted their political affiliation. These results highlight the impact of identity misclassification concerns on strongly identified partisans whose personal preferences are inconsistent with party norms.

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Party Size and Constituency Representation: Evidence from the 19th-Century U.S. House of Representatives

Scott Meinke
Legislative Studies Quarterly, May 2012, Pages 175-197

Abstract:
Research on congressional parties assumes, but has not directly shown, that party size affects individual members' calculations. Drawing on a key case from the nineteenth-century House - the secession-driven Republican hegemony of 1861 - this article explores the hypothesis that party voting not only declines but also becomes more strongly linked to constituency factors as relative party size increases. The analysis reveals that the jump in party size coincides with (1) a decrease in party voting among individual continuing members, (2) a strengthening association between some constituency factors and party voting, and (3) patterns of decline in individual party voting that are explained in part by constituency measures.

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Can Multiple Biases Occur in a Single Situation? Evidence From Media Bias Research

Elisha Babad, Eyal Peer & Yehonatan Benayoun
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explored multiple biases - the possibility that different biases would concurrently occur in a given situation, and each would exert its influence independently on people's judgments. The study focused on media bias through nonverbal (NV) behavior, where viewers judged an interviewed politician after they viewed the interview with a nonverbally friendly or hostile interviewer. In a meta-analysis of several replications, 2 independent biases were found: media bias (viewers rated the interviewee more favorably when the interviewer's NV behavior was friendlier); and halo effect (viewers rated the interviewee according to the degree that they personally liked him). Regression analyses indicated that these 2 biases operated independently and additively on viewers' judgments. Implications for the study of multiple biases are discussed.

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Partisan Evaluation of Partisan Information

Albert Gunther et al.
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
One recent and conspicuous change in the U.S. media landscape has been the shift toward more markedly partisan news content. At the same time, data suggest that the media audience has become more polarized across a wide array of controversial and politicized issues. Recruiting from a group of highly polarized opponents of childhood vaccinations, this study employed a 3 (content bias) × 2 (partisan vs. neutral participants) × 2 (information source) experimental design to examine audience perceptions of information bias. The data supported an expected hostile media perception in the case of "fair and balanced" information, but different patterns in the other bias conditions suggest that content variables can sometimes disarm defensive processing.

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The Voting Rights Act, Legislative Elections, and Southern Partisan Change: Conversion or Competition

Richard Forgette, Andrew Garner & John Winkle
Social Science Quarterly, June 2012, Pages 291-308

Objective: Has the shift from a one-party Democratic South to an (increasingly) Republican South been marked by partisan conversion or partisan competition of legislative district seats? That is, as Democratic incumbents retired, did the districts switch from uncontested Democratic incumbents to uncontested Republican seats (conversion), or did the two parties contest the district after the period of Democratic retirement (competition)?

Method: We analyze all state legislative elections since 1967 to explain southern partisan change. We report rates of uncontested legislative elections, and we model candidate entry in southern and nonsouthern legislative elections.

Results: Our findings support the conversion hypothesis implying that southern legislative districts are increasingly polarized along partisan and racial lines.

Conclusions: Despite growing partisan parity within the southern electorate, southern state legislatures are increasingly composed of uncontested white Republicans and uncontested black Democrats. We discuss the implications of party-based, racial polarization for the ongoing constitutional debate regarding the Voting Rights Act's Section 5.

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Opinion expression during social conflict: Comparing online reader comments and letters to the editor

Michael McCluskey & Jay Hmielowski
Journalism, April 2012, Pages 303-319

Abstract:
News outlets serve democratic norms by providing a wide range of viewpoints, including opinions from the public. This study examined opinion expression in online reader posts and letters to the editor in a community facing social conflict. Analysis of opinion expression about the Jena Six showed more balance in both the range and tone of opinions from online reader comments than reader letters. Online posts more often challenged community institutions than did letters. Ability to post anonymous comments, the absence of media gatekeepers and a younger audience are potential reasons why online reader comments differed from reader letters.

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Online versus face-to-face deliberation: Who? Why? What? With what effects?

Young Min Baek, Magdalena Wojcieszak & Michael Delli Carpini
New Media & Society, May 2012, Pages 363-383

Abstract:
Although there has been much speculation regarding the strengths and weaknesses of face-to-face versus online deliberative settings, no studies have systematically compared the two. Drawing on a national sample of Americans who reported deliberating face-to-face and/or online, we examine these two deliberative settings with regard to the participants, the motivations, the process, and the effects. Our findings, although tentative, suggest that the two settings are distinct in several important ways. Relative to face-to-face deliberation, online deliberation over-represents young, male, and white users, attracts more ideological moderates, generates more negative emotions, and is less likely to result in consensus and political action. At the same time, online deliberators perceived online settings as more politically and racially diverse. Implications for understanding the democratic potential of different forms of deliberation are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM