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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 13, 2015

“Why Polarized Trust Matters”

Marc Hetherington
From the journal The Forum

Abstract

The early 2000s has witnessed the rise of a new phenomenon in public opinion, polarized political trust. By polarized, I mean that those who identify with the party opposite the president express much less trust in government than those who identify with the president’s party. Indeed, outparty partisans express almost no political trust at all. This is important because it is this group of people who have traditionally been the bridge that allows for consensus building in the electorate. Consensus in the electorate, in turn, encourages cooperation across party lines in Congress. Without consensus but with deep distrust of the other party, office holders from the party opposite the president have no incentive to rise above their worst partisan instincts because partisans from their side will tend to blame the president’s party for resultant problems of governance.


Corresponding author: Marc Hetherington, Department of Political Science, Vanderbilt University, PMB 505, 230 Appleton place, Nashville, TN 37203-5721, USA, e-mail:

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Published Online: 2015-11-13
Published in Print: 2015-10-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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