Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

Faculty/School

Faculty of Arts

First Contributor

Steve D. Brown

Contributor Role

Thesis Supervisor

Abstract

The electoral debut of the Reform Party and Bloc Quebecois allows for an examination of the character and role of party identification in political cognition in a manner not previously available to researchers. Campbell and colleagues (1960) American Voter presented a psychological basis for understanding individual-level voting behaviour, where party identification affects the vote choice directly and acts as a perceptual screen where the screening function distorts perceptions of political objects that are inconsistent with the citizen's existing political attitudes. The findings of this study are largely consistent with the notion that, among those who acknowledge an association with a major political party, partisan identification appears to be an important structure around which political cognition is organized. Data from the 1993 Canadian election show that the stronger one's positive ratings of one's own leader, party and local candidate the stronger the negative ratings of rival objects. In addition, this tendency to contrast one's own objects relative to the opposition intensifies as partisan identity intensifies.

Convocation Year

1997

Convocation Season

Fall

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