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01.12.2010 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 4/2010 Open Access

Political Behavior 4/2010

The Contextual Causes of Issue and Party Voting in American Presidential Elections

Political Behavior > Ausgabe 4/2010
Benjamin Highton


This paper analyzes the influence of the two most commonly examined causes of presidential vote choice, policy preferences and party identification. The focus is on change across elections in order to assess how the effects of issues and partisanship respond to the larger political context in which voters make their decisions. In contrast to party centric views of politics, I find little direct responsiveness to party issue contrast and substantial influence of candidate issue contrast. Further, I find that leading hypotheses for the “resurgence in partisanship” are not consistent with some important facts suggesting that the explanation remains elusive.
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