Homola, J., Rogowski, J. C., Sinclair, B., Torres, M., Tucker, P. D., & Webster, S. W. 2023. “Through the ideology of the beholder: how ideology shapes perceptions of partisan groups.” Political Science Research and Methods, 11(2), Pp. 275-292.
Growing attitudinal and affective differences across party lines and increasing social polarization are often attributed to the strengthening of partisanship as a social identity. Scholars have paid less attention to personal preferences as a contributor to these phenomena. Our focus is on how citizens’ policy beliefs—their operational ideologies—are associated with their views of partisan groups. We examine our perspective with two studies. In the first, we find that the attribution of ideologically extreme political views to an individual’s peer significantly reduces interest in interpersonal interaction but find limited evidence that partisan group membership alone induces social polarization. In the second, we show that citizens’ policy views are strongly associated with their perceptions of their own partisan group as well as their counterpartisans. Together, our results have important implications for understanding the consequences of increased polarization and partisan antipathy in contemporary politics.