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Online Department Seminar: Affective polarization across parties: Why do people dislike some parties more than others?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

Full Professor for Quantitative Party and Election Research, Department of Government, University of Vienna

Abstract: Affective polarization, or dislike between citizens with opposing political identities, has received increasing attention as a driver of political attitudes and behavior. However, as this research has mainly examined the case of the US, little attention has been paid to how such dislike varies based on the out-group party, as Republicans and Democrats each only have one out-group party. In multiparty systems, the patterns of dislike become more complex, as do the causes underlying them. To study this question, we use almost thirty years of monthly data from the German Politbarometer surveys. We expect that dislike of particular parties will be driven by three factors: the make-up of partisan groups; the issue content of intergroup conflict; and elite signaling. Our results help us to understand when citizens dislike other parties and thus provide insights into how affective polarization varies over time, across parties and between citizens.