Accounting for temporal trends in party affect: Negativity versus neutrality

Harvey D. Palmer, Justin Wedeking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper investigates whether affect toward the two major parties has shifted in a negative or neutral direction over the past half-century based on several systematic tests that structure citizens by their type of party affect: whether they feel positively about both parties (optimists), negatively about both (pessimists), neutral toward both (indifferent), or positive toward one party and negative toward the other (partisans). Using ANES data from 1952 to 2004, with feeling thermometers and likes/dislikes about the parties as measures of party affect, we conduct several tests and find that changes in mean party affect toward the parties, as well as changes in the distribution of individuals across different types of party affect, support the negativity theory. Additionally, our results indicate that the role of the parties in the political environment has changed, with citizens structuring their affect toward the parties differently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-82
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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