The Limits of Partisan Prejudice

Abstract

© 2016 by the Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved. Partisanship increasingly factors into the behavior of Americans in both political and nonpolitical situations, yet the bounds of partisan prejudice are largely unknown. In this paper, we systematically evaluate the limits of partisan prejudice using a series of five studies situated within a typology of prejudice. We find that partisan prejudice predicts suppression of hostile rhetoric toward one’s own party, avoidance of members of the opposition, and a desire for preferential treatment for one’s own party. While these behaviors may cause incidental or indirect harm to the opposition, we find that even the most affectively polarized - those with the strongest disdain for the opposition - are no more likely to intentionally harm the opposition than those with minimal levels of affective polarization.

Publication
The Journal of Politics