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Party Identification and Vote Choice: The Causal Relationship

Kenneth J. Meier
The Western Political Quarterly
Vol. 28, No. 3 (Sep., 1975), pp. 496-505
DOI: 10.2307/447369
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/447369
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Party Identification and Vote Choice: The Causal Relationship
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Abstract

Although party identification has received extensive use as an independent variable in political analysis, several basic assumptions concerning the concept have received little attention. First, party identification, in this paper, is found to possess less stability over time spans ranging from four weeks to four years than is generally assumed. Second, evidence from panel surveys reveal that vote choice has a causal impact on party identification. These two findings mean that political scientists can no longer assume party is causally prior to vote choice during any single time span, and that any analysis using party identification, such as normal vote analysis, will overestimate the impact of party identification on vote choice.

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