Party Coalitions & Partisan Behavior in the American Public

My dissertation focuses on the American public’s conceptualization of the Republican and Democratic parties as coalitions of distinct social groups. I argue that the manner in which leaders are perceived to interact with these groups determines how citizens evaluate politicians and parties, engage in political action, and interpret the political landscape more broadly. I reveal these tendencies using a series of experiments, real world situations with strong research designs (e.g., difference-in-difference estimates), as well as in statistical models using observational data. The patterns are also evident across political eras as well as at various levels of government (i.e., both the national and state-levels). The last empirical chapter explores how media transmit the connection between elites and groups as well as how citizens perceive news stories involving dissension between elites and politically-relevant groups. Overall, I demonstrate that social group ties are responsible for much of the partisan acrimony in America today, and my theory speaks to how particular aspects of political coalitions can significantly—and paradoxically—reduce polarization.

Committee: Jason Barabas (Chair), Stanley Feldman, Leonie Huddy, and David R. Jones (Outside Member).

Refereed Journal Articles

“Backlash against the ‘Big Box’: Local Small Business and Public Opinion toward Business Corporations.” 2014. Public Opinion Quarterly 78 (4): 984-1002 (with Benjamin J. Newman). (LINK)

“Control, Accountability and Constraints: Rethinking Perceptions of Presidential Responsibility for the Economy.” 2016. Presidential Studies Quarterly 46 (2): 335-364. (LINK)

“No Love for Doves? Foreign Policy and Candidate Appeal,” Forthcoming in Social Science Quarterly (with Helmut Norpoth). (LINK)

“Organized Labor as the New Undeserving Rich? Mass Media, Class-based Anti-union Rhetoric, and Public Support for Unions in the U.S.” Forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science (with Benjamin J. Newman).

“Economic Inequality and Public Support for Organized Labor.” Forthcoming at Political Research Quarterly (with Benjamin J. Newman). (LINK)

“Why Can’t We Agree On ID? Partisanship, Perceptions of Fraud, and Public Support for Voter Identification Laws.” Forthcoming at Public Opinion Quarterly.

Book Reviews

Review of Adam Seth Levine’s American Insecurity: Why Our Economic Fears Lead to Political Inaction. 2016. Journal of Politics 78 (1): e12-e13 (with Jason Barabas). (LINK)

Research Under Review and In Progress

Manipulation Checks in Experimental Research Designs. Revise & Resubmit at the American Journal of Political Science (with Jason Barabas).

Coalition Politics & Partisan Polarization (Dissertation Chapter; Finalizing Manuscript for Submission).

Political Coalitions and Partisan Identity (Dissertation Chapter; Finalizing Manuscript for Submission).

Political Coalitions in the Mass Media (Dissertation Chapter; Finalizing Manuscript for Submission).

Political Ideology and Negative Stimuli (Data Collection; with Stanley Feldman).

The Politics of Border Security (Awaiting Release of Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection; FOIA Request Submitted (CBP-2014-006565) December/2013; with Joshua M. Johnson and Yamil R. Velez).