Tuesday Seminar – 11 May

Positivity breeds Positivity: Evidence that Positive In-party Affective Evaluations Predict Positive Out-party Evaluations in Western Publics

James Adams (UC Davis) 
Noam Gidron (Hebrew University in Jerusalem)
Will Horn (Princeton University)
Yair Amitai (Hebrew University in Jerusalem)

Political observers voice growing concerns over cross-party distrust and hostility in western publics, commonly labeled affective polarisation. Scholars typically measure affective polarisation as the difference between partisans’ evaluations of their own party versus its opponents.  However theoretical intuitions conflict regarding how partisans’ in-party and out-party evaluations should relate to one another. We review these conflicting arguments, and we report empirical analyses that show a positive association between partisans’ affective evaluations of in-parties versus out-parties: when people express warmer feelings toward their own party, they also tend to express warmer feelings toward other parties, and vice versa. This relationship holds for both cross-national and temporal comparisons of survey data on twenty western publics, and in individual-level Dutch panel survey data. These findings advance debates over the building blocks of affective polarisation.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 7 May 2021 at 8 h 54 min.