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On the Meaning of Political Support

Edward N. Muller and Thomas O. Jukam
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 71, No. 4 (Dec., 1977), pp. 1561-1595
DOI: 10.2307/1961496
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1961496
Page Count: 35
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On the Meaning of Political Support
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Abstract

The incumbent vs. system affect distinction is basic in the conceptualization of political support. It is based on the premise that system affect is a more important antecedent of aggressive political behavior than incumbent affect. The data reported here show that it is possible to distinguish incumbent from system affect empirically, and also theoretically important to make the incumbent-system distinction. Measures especially sensitive to incumbent affect correlate differently with ideology than does a measure especially sensitive to system affect. Byvariate correlations between measures of incumbent affect and a measure of aggressive political behavior are shown to be either spurious or indirect, due to the fact that incumbent affect is correlated with what appears to be a more powerful and direct antecedent of aggressive political behavior, namely, system affect. The theory behind the incumbent-system distinction is expressed in four propositions. In general, the data conform to it, but each prediction is qualified according to whether ideology and community context are inhibitory or facilitative.

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