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 on the Social Welfare agenda? 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 the Republicans’ ability to maintain 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 those issues on the Social Welfare agenda on which the position of the Republican Party is widely popular.