Ideological asymmetries

Paul Sniderman and my paper on ideological asymmetries in American politics has formally been accepted at BJPS. The current draft can be found here.

Abstract: Most Americans support liberal policies on the social welfare agenda, the dominant policy cleavage in American politics. Yet, a striking feature of the American party system is its tendency to equilibrium. How, then, does the Republican Party minimize defection? There is, our results show, a deep ideological asymmetry between the parties. Republican identifiers are ideologically aware and oriented to a degree that far exceeds their Democratic counterparts. Our investigation, which utilizes cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental data, demonstrates the role of ideological awareness and involvement in Republicans ability to onto the backing of their supporters even on issues on which the position of the Democratic Party is widely popular. It also exposes two mechanisms, party branding and the use of the status quo as a focal point, by which Democrats retain or rally support on issues on which the position of the Republican Party is widely popular.

Immigrant contact

Ryan Enos published a fascinating study both methodologically and substantively. The study estimates ``the causal effects of repeated intergroup contact, in which Spanish-speaking confederates were randomly assigned to be inserted, for a period of days, into the daily routines of unknowing Anglo-whites living in homogeneous communities in the United States, thus simulating the conditions of demographic change.''

The top line in the figure above shows the ATE of people that had 3 days; the bottom line shows 10 days. Higher values indicate a a larger difference in exclusionary attitudes between treatment and control. The fact that the effects get smaller with more contact adds a wrinkle to the story. Maybe intergroup contact increases threat temporarily. Perhaps after a month or two, the effects may go the other way (more supportive of immigration), and, therefore, in line with Allport and intergroup contact.


Democratic rule requires a certain level of political knowledge. 60 years of research indicates we are lacking it. In a working paper, Crag Burnett and Matt McCubbins show people know only slightly more about rules of the road and less about sports, popular culture, geography. Not sure if this is an optimistic story or not.


Presented a couple papers this weekend in Rome.

Ideological Asymmetries in the American Party System:  The Power of Ideology in Partisan Politics.

The Nature and Limits of Partisan Prejudice

combining reshape and tables packages to make tables

 wrote a function that combines two useful packages so you can create a publication quality table with reshape.