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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 31, 2012

Voting vs. Thinking: Unified Partisan Voting Does Not Imply Unified Partisan Beliefs

  • Jeremy C. Pope
From the journal The Forum


The Myth of the Independent Voter crystallized views that were becoming accepted in political science and began an effort to convince the press that self-described independent voters were not truly independent, but that these “leaners” were really closet partisans. Despite the success of that book, its argument has come with a cost. Most especially, a misrepresentation of the argument can play into the myth of a deeply polarized electorate. When scrutinized closely, it becomes clear that Americans often vote in a highly partisan way, yet they are far less likely to think in a clearly partisan fashion. All partisans, but especially weak partisans and independent leaners, disagree frequently with their respective parties. Indeed, just as we no longer see independents as a united block, we should avoid making claims that partisans are united, because even though these partisans often vote alike, they do not always think alike.

Published Online: 2012-10-31

©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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