"The Limits of Partisan Prejudice." Journal of Politics, 2017.

Yphtach Lelkes and Sean J. Westwood

Partisanship increasingly factors into the behavior of Americans in both political and non-political situations, yet the bounds of partisan prejudice are largely unknown. In this paper we systematically evaluate the limits of partisan prejudice using a series of five studies situated within a typology of prejudice. We find that partisan prejudice predicts promotion of hostile rhetoric, avoidance of members of the opposition, and a desire for preferential treatment for one’s own party. While these behaviors may cause incidental or indirect harm to the opposition, we find that even the most affectively polarized—those with the strongest disdain for the opposition—are no more likely to intentionally harm the opposition than those with minimal levels of affective polarization.

Published in Volume 79, Number 2