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The Development of Party Identification among Adults: Exploration of a Functional Model
W. Phillips Shively
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 73, No. 4 (Dec., 1979), pp. 1039-1054
Published by: American Political Science Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1953988
Page Count: 16
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This article proposes a model for the systematic development of adults' party identification, based on voters' need for a way to handle difficult electoral decisions. Several variables are noted which should heighten this need, thus making it more likely that voters will develop party identification. The model is partially tested, in an exploratory way, by analysis of panel data from the United States and Britain, and by cohort analysis of United States elections from 1952 to 1976. I develop the following implications of the model: (1) the "life-cycle" process by which party identification increases with age may be largely a function of difficulty in meeting information costs; (2) the process by which party identification, once it exists, becomes stronger appears to differ from the process by which voters move from independence to identification; (3) class-consciousness, in the presence of class parties, may obviate the need for direct identification with parties; (4) the American electorate appears increasingly to be one in which political change may occur regularly, rather than through the fitful process of realignment.
The American Political Science Review © 1979 American Political Science Association