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Journal Articles Political Behavior Year : 2008

Can Partisan Cues Diminish Democratic Accountability?

Kevin Arceneaux


When evaluating political candidates, citizens can draw on partisan stereotypes and use partisan cues to make inferences about the candidates’ issue positions without undertaking a costly information search. As long as candidates adopt policy positions that are congruent with partisan stereotypes, partisan cues can help citizens make an accurate voting decision with limited information. However, if candidates take counter-stereotypical positions, it is incumbent upon citizens to recognize it and adjust their evaluations accordingly. Using the dual-processing framework, I hypothesize about the conditions under which individuals reduce their reliance on partisan cues and scrutinize counter-stereotypical messages, and test these hypotheses with experimental data collected from a nationally representative sample of adults. The findings show that whether individuals punish a candidate from their party for taking a counter-stereotypical position is contingent on the salience of the issue and the political awareness of the message recipient. The article concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and normative implications of these findings.

Dates and versions

hal-03635365 , version 1 (08-04-2022)



Kevin Arceneaux. Can Partisan Cues Diminish Democratic Accountability?. Political Behavior, 2008, 30 (2), pp.139-160. ⟨10.1007/s11109-007-9044-7⟩. ⟨hal-03635365⟩


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