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Title page for ETD etd-12012005-132650


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Carrico, Amanda R.
Author's Email Address amanda.r.carrico@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-12012005-132650
Title An examination of partisan identity and political behavior in a panel study of college undergraduates during the 2004 U.S. federal election
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William P. Smith Committee Chair
Bruce Barry Committee Member
Keywords
  • Political Identity
  • Political Activity
  • Electoral Behavior
  • Intergroup Bias
Date of Defense 2005-11-28
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Theories of social identity suggest that a psychological attachment to a social group will lead individuals to engage in in-group favoritism, intergroup differentiation, and increased involvement with other group members. While such theories have clear applications to the study of political behavior, the study of partisan identity and its ramifications has been rare. The present research addressed the question of how social identity processes operate within the context of a presidential election campaign. The role of identification with a party was compared against respondents' opinions on a variety of political issues during the 2004 U.S. federal election. 144 undergraduates were surveyed three times regarding their partisan identities, political beliefs, social involvement with other party members, evaluations of party members and candidates, political activism, and voting behavior. Results suggest that, while the role of policy preference is primarily related to an individual's ideological development and perception of fit with one's party, party identity has a much broader effect on political perceptions, involvement with the party, and political activity. Likewise, partisan identity was associated with increases in favoritism towards the party, ideological extremity, activism, and involvement with individuals of similar political orientation over the course of the election. The implications of these findings in light of how individuals receive and react to political information are discussed.
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