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Monday, November 5, 2012

Right, left, jab

 

The President's Economy: Parity in Presidential Party Performance

James Campbell
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December 2012, Pages 811-818

Abstract:
Have Democratic presidents since World War II had economic records that were superior to those of their Republican counterparts? In a previous study, I reported findings that there were no significant differences between the economic records of the presidential parties once the conditions of the economy they inherited from their predecessor were taken into account. Comiskey and Marsh challenged this finding with an analysis that controlled for business cycle effects. This article reexamines the issue and Comiskey and Marsh's analysis. The reexamination reaffirms my earlier findings that the presidential parties have not significantly differed in their economic records once the effects of inherited economic conditions are taken into account.

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The President's Economy: A Response to Campbell

Michael Comiskey & Lawrence Marsh
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December 2012, Pages 819-826

Abstract:
In this response we reply to Campbell's criticisms of our article in the March 2012 issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly. We demonstrate algebraically that Campbell's preferred model of the economy, which includes a lagged value of the dependent variable, merely disguises the impact of the president on economic performance. We reject his other criticisms and stand by our article.

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An Economic Ranking of the US Presidents, 1789-2009: A Data-Based Approach

Mark Zachary Taylor
PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2012, Pages 596-604

Abstract:
How relatively good or bad were the economic performances of our past presidents? The answers to this question remain unclear. Most evaluations of presidential performance cloud the issue with partisan bias and subjective judgments or mix economics together with other policy areas. To address these shortcomings, this article uses new data from the Measuring Worth Project to calculate the relative economic rankings of the United States presidents who served from 1789 until 2009. It analyzes up to 220 years of data on economic growth, unemployment, inflation, government debt, balance of payments, income inequality, currency strength, interest rates, and stock market returns to estimate an economic grade point average for each president. Then, these estimates are used to test for correlations with other variables to generate hypotheses regarding the conditions for superior and inferior economic performance.

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Did the New Deal Solidify the 1932 Democratic Realignment?

Shawn Kantor, Price Fishback & John Joseph Wallis
NBER Working Paper, November 2012

Abstract:
The critical election of 1932 represented a turning point in the future electoral successes of the Democrats and Republicans for over three decades. This paper seeks to measure the importance of the New Deal in facilitating the Democrats' control of the federal government well into the 1960s. We test whether long-differences in the county-level electoral support for Democratic presidential candidates after the 1930s can be attributed to New Deal interventions into local economies. We also investigate more narrowly whether voters rewarded Roosevelt from 1932 to 1936 and from 1936 to 1940 for his efforts to stimulate depressed local economies. Our instrumental variables estimates indicate that increasing a county's per capita New Deal relief and public works spending from nothing to the sample mean ($277) would have increased the long-run support for the Democratic party by 10 percentage points. We further find that the long-run shift toward the Democratic party after 1928 was not a function of the Roosevelt landslide victory in 1932. Roosevelt's ability to win over voters during the 1936 and 1940 elections, however, did matter for the long-term.

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A Turn Toward Avoidance? Selective Exposure to Online Political Information, 2004-2008

Kelly Garrett, Dustin Carnahan & Emily Lynch
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars warn that avoidance of attitude-discrepant political information is becoming increasingly common due in part to an ideologically fragmented online news environment that allows individuals to systematically eschew contact with ideas that differ from their own. Data collected over a series of national RDD surveys conducted between 2004 and 2008 challenge this assertion, demonstrating that Americans' use of attitude-consistent political sources is positively correlated with use of more attitudinally challenging sources. This pattern holds over time and across different types of online outlets, and applies even among those most strongly committed to their political ideology, although the relationship is weaker for this group. Implications for these findings are discussed.

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Moral Foundations and Heterogeneity in Ideological Preferences

Christopher Weber & Christopher Federico
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have documented numerous examples of how liberals and conservatives differ in considering public policy. Recent work in political psychology has sought to understand these differences by detailing the ways in which liberals and conservatives approach political and social issues. In their moral foundations theory, Haidt and Joseph contend the divisions between liberals and conservatives are rooted in different views of morality. They demonstrate that humans consistently rely on five moral foundations. Two of these foundations - harm and fairness - are often labeled the individualizing foundations, as they deal with the role of individuals within social groups; the remaining three foundations - authority, ingroup loyalty, and purity - are the binding foundations as they pertain to the formation and maintenance of group bonds. Graham, Haidt, and Nosek demonstrate that liberals tend to disproportionately value the individualizing foundations, whereas conservatives value all five foundations equally. We extend this line of inquiry by examining whether different types of liberals and conservatives value the moral foundations to varying degrees. Using survey data (n = 745), we rely on a mixed-mode latent class analysis and identify six ideological classes that favor unique social and fiscal policy positions. While most of the respondents belonging to these classes self-identify as conservative, they endorse the moral foundations in varying degrees. Since our findings demonstrate considerable heterogeneity with respect to ideology and moral preferences, we conclude by encouraging scholars to consider this heterogeneity in detailing the motivational and psychological foundations of ideological belief.

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Political Ideology in American Politics: One, Two, or None?

Edward Carmines, Michael Ensley & Michael Wagner
The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics, October 2012

Abstract:
Are Americans ideological, and if so, what are the foundations of their ideology? According to Converse's seminal view, whatever the case in other western democracies and despite its centrality to traditional versions of textbook democracy, the American public is distinctly non-ideological. Our objective is to compare the standard and by far most widely used measure of political ideology - a measure that presumes ideology is one-dimensional - to a more recent measure that allows for a multi-dimensional conception and measurement. This measure demonstrates that while American political elites compete across a single dimension of conflict, the American people organize their policy attitudes around two distinct dimensions, one economic and one social. After explaining how we derived the measure and how it can be used to develop five separate ideological groups, we show how these groups differ politically and why it is not possible to map their preferences onto a one-dimensional measure of ideology.

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Who Wants to Have a Tea Party? The Who, What, and Why of the Tea Party Movement

Kevin Arceneaux & Stephen Nicholson
PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2012, Pages 700-710

Abstract:
In the wake of the 2008 election, disgruntled conservatives organized opposition to President Obama's policies under a new movement dubbed the Tea Party. As an emerging force in American politics, we seek to understand who supports the Tea Party and the political attitudes these individuals hold. Using a nationally representative survey of respondents during the 2010 midterm elections, we examine whether the emerging narrative surrounding the Tea Party is accurate. The survey included a novel embedded experiment designed to investigate claims that animosity toward racial minorities drives Tea Party opposition to welfare. We find support for the contention that the Tea Party is predominately white, male, conservative, and strongly opposed to tax increases. Tea Party supporters, however, are not simply libertarians. In spite of appeals to freedom and liberty common in Tea Party rhetoric, a strong authoritarian pulse exists among its most ardent supporters. Furthermore, although we find evidence that racial resentment colors Tea Party members' judgments about government aid to the poor, racial animus does not appear to be the primary force behind their opposition to government aid. Lastly, we uncover some evidence of heterogeneity within the movement, with a small minority of Tea Party supporters voicing less-extreme political attitudes and evincing a rejection of negative racial stereotypes.

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Bringing ideology in: The conservative white male effect on worry about environmental problems in the USA

Aaron McCright & Riley Dunlap
Journal of Risk Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Extending existing scholarship on the white male effect in risk perception, we examine whether conservative white males (CWMs) are less worried about the risks of environmental problems than are other adults in the US general public. We draw theoretical and analytical guidance from the identity-protective cognition thesis explaining the white male effect and from recent political psychology scholarship documenting the heightened system-justification tendencies of political conservatives. We utilize public opinion data from nine Gallup surveys between 2001 and 2010, focusing on both a single-item indicator and a composite measure of worry about environmental problems. We find that CWMs indeed have significantly lower worry about environmental problems than do other Americans. Furthermore, the results of our multivariate regression models reveal that this CWMs effect remains significant when controlling for the direct effects of political ideology, race, and gender and the effects of nine social, demographic, and temporal control variables - as well as the effect of individuals generalized (nonenvironmental) risk perceptions. We conclude that the white male effect is due largely to CWMs, and that the latter's low level of concern with environmental risks is likely driven by their social commitment to prevent new environmental regulations and repeal existing ones.

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The President's Effect on Partisan Attitudes

Gary Jacobson
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December 2012, Pages 683-718

Abstract:
The link between the president's job approval ratings and aggregate election outcomes is well established, but the processes forging the connection have received comparatively little attention. A variety of data from diverse sources across multiple administrations indicates that popular assessments of the president strongly affect how his party is evaluated, perceived, and adopted as an object of identification, which, in turn, helps to account for the president's influence on the electoral fates of his party's candidates. The data also suggest that opinions of Barack Obama have so far had an even larger effect on attitudes toward the president's party than did opinions of his predecessors, including G. W. Bush.

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Gridlock?

Amitai Etzioni
The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics, October 2012

Abstract:
For every American who identifies himself as a liberal, there are two conservatives. Practically all Republicans see themselves as such, but many Democrats are not liberals. The political system works quite well from one specific viewpoint: it delivers what the majority says it wants - rather conservative policies, including the period 2008-2012. Conservative Democrats in Congress help pass GOP items, but GOP representatives almost never vote for liberal items. The question is, given that the majority gets what it seeks, why is this majority so alienated? The article offer several explanations.

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Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Orientations

Carolyn Funk et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article reports results from the first twin study of adults in the United States that focuses exclusively and comprehensively on political traits. These data allow us to test whether a common set of genetic and environmental influences act upon a broad variety of values, personality traits, and political attitudes. In short, it allows us to empirically investigate whether there are a core set of predispositions that form the basis of our political orientations and, if so, whether these predispositions are shaped by the same environmental and innate forces. The key finding from our analysis is that there are core political predispositions that are rooted in common genetic and environmental influences and that these predispositions are empirically distinct from broader personality traits.

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The Dating Preferences of Liberals and Conservatives

Casey Klofstad, Rose McDermott & Peter Hatemi
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
American politics has become more polarized. The source of the phenomena is debated. We posit that human mate choice may play a role in the process. Spouses are highly correlated in their political preferences, and research in behavioral genetics, neuroscience, and endocrinology shows that political preferences develop through a complex interaction of social upbringing, life experience, immediate circumstance, and genes and hormones, operating through one's psychological architecture by Hatemi et al. (J Theor Politics, 24:305-327, 2012). Consequently, if people with similar political values produce children, there will be more individuals at the ideological extremes over generations. This said, we are left with a mystery: spousal concordance on political attitudes does not result from convergence over the course of the relationship, nor are spouses initially selecting one another on political preferences. We examine whether positive mate assortation - like seeks like - on non-political factors such as lifestyle and demographics could lead to inadvertent assortation on political preferences. Using a sample of Internet dating profiles we find that both liberals and conservatives seek to date individuals who are like themselves. This result suggests a pathway by which long-term couples come to share political preferences, which in turn could be fueling the widening ideological gap in the United States.

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Partisan Identification as a Predictor of Cortisol Response to Election News

Hart Blanton, Erin Strauts & Marisol Perez
Political Communication, Fall 2012, Pages 447-460

Abstract:
Partisan effects on media consumption have been widely documented, with considerable attention given to partisan influences on selective exposure. Although researchers have debated the degree to which selective exposure drives media consumption in general and partisan consumption of the news in particular, one of the hypothesized mechanisms linked to this phenomenon seems inherently plausible: Exposure to disliked news coverage can generate psychological discomfort. The physiological effects of this hypothesized discomfort were examined by determining how political partisanship influences release of the stress hormone, cortisol, following exposure to news coverage of a presidential election. The study was conducted in the week following the 2008 election. Participants were students at a large, mostly conservative state university who read news coverage about the election victory of Barack Obama or a set of control news stories. Results indicated that conservative political identification was associated with more negative and less positive emotional responses and with a spike in salivary cortisol levels. Contrary to predictions, however, the cortisol spikes appeared to operate independent of self-reported emotional distress. The implications of these results are considered as they relate to selective exposure and the physical health of partisans who follow political news.

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Independent Leaners as Policy Partisans: An Examination of Party Identification and Policy Views

David Magleby & Candice Nelson
The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics, October 2012

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that Independents who lean towards the Democratic or Republican parties exhibit voting behavior similar to outright partisans. Less attention has been paid to the policy positions of Independent leaners. In this article we compare the policy positions of Independent leaners, Strong and not very strong Democrats and Republicans, and Pure Independents on five policy issues: the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the 2009 stimulus bill, the war in Iraq, abortion, and same sex marriage. On all five issues, Independent leaners are policy partisans; their positions are almost identical to the positions of outright partisans, and quite different from the views of Pure Independents. Analyses which consider Independents as one monolithic block are just as erroneous on policy issues as they are on political behavior.

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The Role of Partisanship in Aggregate Opinion

Peter Enns & Gregory McAvoy
Political Behavior, December 2012, Pages 627-651

Abstract:
Despite the centrality of party identification in U.S. politics, the effects of partisanship on public opinion remain elusive. In this article, we use monthly economic opinion data disaggregated by partisanship to evaluate the role of party identification on economic perceptions. Using both static and time-varying error correction models, we find strong evidence of partisan bias in the public's assessment of the state of the economy, and importantly, this bias changes over time. This evidence of the changing influence of partisanship helps reconcile some of the different findings of individual and aggregate level opinion studies. We also examine how the time-varying influence of partisanship affects aggregate public opinion. Specifically, we show that the increased influence of partisanship has led aggregate economic perceptions to respond more slowly to objective economic information.

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Creating Opportunities? Bipartisanship in the Early Obama Presidency

George Edwards
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: I investigate whether it was possible for President Obama to create an opportunity for change by obtaining bipartisan support for his initiatives.

Methods: I analyze the theoretical prospects for Republican support and then examine the president's level of success in obtaining it.

Results: I find the president rarely received bipartisan support and that his efforts to obtain it were costly.

Conclusion: The president, like all presidents, could not create opportunities for change. Instead, he was dependent on exploiting the opportunities presented by those disposed to support his initiatives.

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Ex-Presidential Approval: Retrospective Evaluations of Presidential Performance

Costas Panagopoulos
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December 2012, Pages 719-729

Abstract:
Political observers and presidents alike are preoccupied with the notion of presidential legacy. Speculation about how presidential actions will be viewed by future generations weighs heavily on the minds of chief executives as well as historians and analysts who seek to devise standards and techniques by which to measure the concept of legacy. In this article, I examine survey data on retrospective assessments about ex-presidential performance to examine developments over time. I also develop and empirically test a series of hypotheses to explain level of ex-presidential approval. I find that the public's retrospective evaluations of former presidential performance in office are linked to presidential approval during their administrations, incumbent presidential approval, whether or not they are deceased, and the length of time former presidents have been out of office.

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Personality and the Strength and Direction of Partisan Identification

Alan Gerber et al.
Political Behavior, December 2012, Pages 653-688

Abstract:
We examine the associations between personality traits and the strength and direction of partisan identification using a large national sample. We theorize that the relationships between Big Five personality traits and which party a person affiliates with should mirror those between the Big Five and ideology, which we find to be the case. This suggests that the associations between the Big Five and the direction of partisan identification are largely mediated by ideology. Our more novel finding is that personality traits substantially affect whether individuals affiliate with any party as well as the strength of those affiliations, effects that we theorize stem from affective and cognitive benefits of affiliation. In particular, we find that three personality traits (Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Openness) predict strength of partisan identification (p < 0.05). This result holds even after controlling for ideology and a variety of issue positions. These findings contribute to our understanding of the psychological antecedents of partisan identification.

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The Depoliticization of Inequality and Redistribution: Explaining the Decline of Class Voting

Geoffrey Evans & James Tilley
Journal of Politics, October 2012, Pages 963-976

Abstract:
The collapse of the class basis of party choice in Britain since the 1980s has been assumed to result from the diminishing distinctiveness of social classes in the postindustrial world. We argue instead that class dealignment results from the impact of an ideologically restricted choice set on the electoral relevance of values concerning inequality and redistribution. As these values provide a mechanism through which class divisions translate into differences in party choice, their declining relevance produces a concomitant decline in the effect of class position. These propositions are tested using British survey data covering the period from 1983 to 2010. We show that a supply-side constriction in the choices presented to voters, rather than the weakening of class divisions, accounts for the declining political relevance of redistributive values and the class basis of party choice. The politics of class influences class voting, not vice versa.

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Americanization of Web-Based Political Communication? A Comparative Analysis of Political Blogospheres in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany

Ki Deuk Hyun
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, September 2012, Pages 397-413

Abstract:
Political blogging provides a useful testing ground for the thesis of Americanization effects of new media technology that emerged in the United States and spread internationally. This study examined the network of hypertext links to top political blogs in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The U.S. blogging network showed higher interconnectedness than did the U.K. and German networks, and was more highly fragmented along the lines of political differences. This study presents the relationships among the new communication form, its international diffusion, and the role of indigenous conditions affecting its adoption.

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Changing Parties, Changing Partisans: The Personalization of Partisan Attachments in Western Europe

Diego Garzia
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article investigates the effects of the deep transformations in the relationship between West European class-mass parties and their electorates. Particular attention is paid to the changing nature of individuals' partisan attachments, which are hypothesized to be less rooted in social and ideological identities and more in individual attitudes towards increasingly visible partisan objects. The main objective of this article is to examine the influence of voters' attitudes towards one of these "objects" - the party leaders - in determining psychological attachments with the parties. The analysis concentrates on the two main cleavage-based parties in Britain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. The empirical findings highlight the declining ability of social identities (class and religious) to predict individual feelings of partisan attachment, as well as the growing influence of voters' attitudes towards party leaders. The concluding section points to the crucial role that political psychology can play in our understanding of democratic elections' outcomes.

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The Politics of Interpersonal Trust and Reciprocity: An Experimental Approach

Ryan Carlin & Gregory Love
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trust and reciprocity are theoretically essential to strong democracies and efficient markets. Working from the theoretical frameworks of social identity and cognitive heuristics, this study draws on dual-process models of decision making to expect (1) the trustor to infer trustworthiness from partisan stereotypes and thus to discriminate trust in favor of co-partisans and against rival partisans, but (2) the trustee to base reciprocity decisions on real information about the trustor's deservingness rather than a partisan stereotype. So whereas partisanship is likely to trigger trust biases, the trust decision itself provides enough information to override partisan biases in reciprocity. The analysis derives from a modified trust game experiment. Overall, the results suggest partisanship biases trust decisions among partisans, and the degree of partisan trust bias is consistent with expectations from both social identity theory and cognitive heuristics. When it comes to reciprocity, however, information about the other subject's level of trust nullifies partisan bias.

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The Post-Palin Calculus: The 2012 Republican Veepstakes

Jody Baumgartner
PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2012, Pages 605-609

Abstract:
In this article results are presented from a conditional logit model of vice presidential selection that correctly predicts Mitt Romney selecting Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate in 2012. The model, which correctly predicts 14 of the 20 contested major party vice presidential nominations from 1960 through 2008, suggests that media exposure, political experience, having served in the military, age, and gender/racial/ethnic diversity are significant factors in selecting a vice presidential candidate in the modern era.

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Partisan Stereotypes and Policy Attitudes

Daniel Bergan
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing from the literature on expectancy violations (A. H. Eagly, W. Wood, & S. Chaiken, 1978) and recent work on stereotypes (J. T. Crawford, L. Jussim, S. Madon, T. R. Cain, & S. T. Stevens, 2011), we predict that party labels influence attitudes when they provide unexpected information. We predict that party labels will increase support for the relevant policy when attached to unexpected policies and will have no effect when attached to policies already associated with the party. Party labels operate as hypothesized by prior work, increasing support among identifiers of the party endorsing the policy and decreasing support among members of the opposite party, when there are no expectations about the party's position on the policy. In a series of 3 experiments, we find empirical support for each these predictions.

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The Effects of Need for Cognition and Need for Affect on Partisan Evaluations

Kevin Arceneaux & Ryan Vander Wielen
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The voting behavior literature has advanced two prominent theoretical models of partisanship: the social psychological and rational models. Implicit to both stylized models is the assumption that all partisans process information similarly. Yet, growing research in psychology suggests that individuals possess different motivations when evaluating information. We propose that the applicability of the stylized models of partisanship is conditioned on individuals' need for cognition (NFC) and need for affect (NFA), with the social psychological model being most applicable to individuals who have a high NFA and the rational model most applicable to those with a high NFC. To test this proposition, we fielded a survey in which respondents who identified with the two major political parties in the United States (Democrat or Republican) were randomly assigned factual information that depicted either their party or their opposing party in a negative light. Respondents were then asked to assess the actions of that party and subsequently evaluate both political parties. We find evidence that is generally consistent with the proposition that the stylized models of partisanship are conditionally dependent on the extent to which individuals possess a need to engage in effortful thinking or a need to seek out emotions.

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Saying No to Abstinence-Only Education: An Analysis of State Decision-Making

Alesha Doan & Deborah McFarlane
Publius, Fall 2012, Pages 613-635

Abstract:
As a rule, American states try to maximize their share of federal funds. This study addresses an unusual case of states rejecting federal dollars. Here, the spurned monies were block grants for abstinence-only education, intended to discourage adolescent sexual activity. These grants became available in 1998, but by 2009, twenty-five states had rejected them. Using a conceptual framework drawn from fiscal federalism and morality politics, we explore the dynamics of these state decisions through an event history analysis. The results suggest that states' rejection of abstinence-only funds were largely driven by partisanship and ideology rather than by fiscal maximization or state needs. We argue that this case is a bellwether for fiscal federalism in a polarized polity.

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What Makes Us Click? Demonstrating Incentives for Angry Discourse with Digital-Age Field Experiments

Timothy Ryan
Journal of Politics, October 2012, Pages 1138-1152

Abstract:
There is substantial evidence that political actors can incorporate emotional content into their messages with an eye toward evoking politically relevant behaviors. In particular, many studies highlight anxiety as effective in eliciting interest and information seeking. This finding raises the question of why many appeals seem geared to evoke not anxiety, but rather anger. I point to reasons why anger might evoke information seeking under at least some conditions. Then, in a new type of field experiment, I induce feelings of anger and anxiety and passively measure the effects on information seeking. Across three studies, I find anger, evoked alone, to increase information seeking to a large degree - substantially increasing web users' proclivity to click through to a political website. The results suggest that anger can engage and speak to psychological incentives for political communication, under some conditions, to employ angry rhetoric.

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With Facebook, Blogs, and Fake News, Teens Reject Journalistic "Objectivity"

Regina Marchi
Journal of Communication Inquiry, July 2012, Pages 246-262

Abstract:
This article examines the news behaviors and attitudes of teenagers, an understudied demographic in the research on youth and news media. Based on interviews with 61 racially diverse high school students, it discusses how adolescents become informed about current events and why they prefer certain news formats to others. The results reveal changing ways news information is being accessed, new attitudes about what it means to be informed, and a youth preference for opinionated rather than objective news. This does not indicate that young people disregard the basic ideals of professional journalism but, rather, that they desire more authentic renderings of them.

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Moderatism or Polarization? Representation of Advocacy Groups' Ideology in Newspapers

Michael McCluskey & Young Mie Kim
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars and commentators argue that the United States has become politically polarized in recent years, with news content itself favoring polarized views. If true, this represents a radical shift from Gans's enduring news value of moderatism. By examining 208 advocacy groups' ideology and their representation in 118 newspapers, this study revisits Gans's moderatism argument and investigates polarization in news content. Analysis demonstrates that moderate groups had less prominence within articles, with no differences in tone. Polarization may offer a higher news value by presenting inherent conflict and a means for journalistic balance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM