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Does issue importance attenuate partisan cue-taking?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2023

Michael Barber
Political Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
Jeremy C. Pope*
Political Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
Corresponding author: Jeremy C. Pope; Email:


Are cues from party leaders so important that they can cause individuals to change their own issue positions to align with the party's position? Recent work on the importance of party cues suggests they do, especially given the literature on partisanship as a strong and persistent group identity. However, in this paper we test the limits of those partisan cues. Using a unique two-wave panel survey design we find that the effect of party cues is moderated by the prior level of importance individuals place on an issue. We find that when a person believes an issue area to be more important, party cues are less likely to move that citizen's position, particularly when the cue goes against partisan ideological norms. Our results show evidence that an individual's own issue positions—at least the important ones—can be resilient in the face of party cues.

Research Note
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Political Science Association

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