Political Interest Props Up Partisanship in Wales, Scotland, and England

Privately, I have referred to this piece as The Un-Dead Article, the Paper That Is Never Going Be Published, The Cursed Manuscript, or simply as It-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named. But you know, it’s the problem child we love the most. So: Our article “Political interest furthers partisanship in England, Scotland, and Wales” is finally out! If you don’t have a subscription (please check this first), here is an ungated link that works for a very limited number of visitors (please consider your fellow impoverished HE institution). And if everything fails, here is my pre-print version: Political Interest Furthers Partisanship in England, Scotland, and Wales.

United Kingdom Flag Map

The article argues, first, that the extant literature on party identification in the UK underestimates levels of identification, because it lumps together respondents from three different party systems (England, Scotland, and Wales). Second, we take the very useful model proposed by Clarke and his associates, who treat party identification as a latent class, and make a minor adjustment by adding political interest as an explanatory variable. As it turns out, political interest makes identification more likely. This is more in line with classic ideas about party identification than with “revisionist” critiques of the Michigan model, and with current models of political cognition. Moreover, it suggests that political interest renders affective ties more powerful in stabilizing themselves.

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