Political influence across generations: partisanship and candidate evaluations in the 2008 election

Emily K. Vraga, Leticia Bode, Jung Hwan Yang, Stephanie Edgerly, Kjerstin Thorson, Chris Wells, Dhavan V. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recent scholarship in political socialization has moved beyond traditional transmission models of parent-driven socialization to consider alternative pathways, like trickle-up socialization and its predictors. However, these studies have paid less attention to the diverse ways in which parents and children develop discrete political orientations, especially during a competitive presidential campaign. In this study, we examine various pathways through which influence occurs across generations in terms of partisanship and candidate evaluations. Our results suggest that while harmonious attitudes remain the norm, there are substantial opportunities for youth to demonstrate their independence, particularly when gaining perspectives from schools and digital media sources. Our findings indicate the importance of exploring how youth and their parents come to understand politics and the forces that shape youth socialization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-202
Number of pages19
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research team acknowledges support from the following sources: the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics at the University of Arkansas: the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at the University of Michigan; the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri; the University of Texas Office of the Vice President for Research; and the Hamel Faculty Fellowship, the Graduate School, and the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin. Dhavan Shah of Wisconsin is principal investigator for this survey panel. The authors of this paper received additional support from the Spencer Foundation to conduct further analyses of these data. Any conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the supporting sources or participating faculty.


  • candidate evaluations
  • civic education
  • party affiliation
  • political socialization
  • social media


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