Do you see what i see? Perceptions of party differences and voting behavior

Craig Goodman, Gregg R. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We approach the issues of partisanship and voting behavior by focusing specifically on a seldom-studied group-the substantial proportion of citizens who see little to no important differences between the major parties. Motivated by the heuristics and burgeoning behavioral economics literatures, we conclude that party cues help reduce uncertainty for voters. More specifically, for voters lacking these cues, we expect that there will be a bias toward the incumbent candidate or party, which is motivated by the desire to decrease the potential costs of postdecision regrets. Similarly, we expect that these individuals are likely to delay choosing between candidates and may abstain from voting altogether, which is driven by a shortage of justifications on which to base the decision. We develop measures of perceived party differences based on symbolic and operational differences using data from the American National Election Study and find significant support for our hypotheses in the context of presidential elections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-931
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral economics
  • Elections
  • Heuristics
  • Partisan cues
  • Partisanship
  • Party identification
  • Political parties
  • Voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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