Zeroing in on the Right: Education and the Partisan Expression of Authoritarianism in the United States

Christopher M. Federico, Michal Reifen Tagar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper, we examine how the relationship between authoritarianism and partisanship is conditioned by education. Arguing against perspectives suggesting that authoritarianism is the province of the "unsophisticated," we hypothesize that the relationship between education and Republican partisanship should be stronger among educated Americans. Moreover, going beyond previous work on how education may moderate the political impact of psychological dispositions, we also argue that partisan signals pertinent to authoritarianism come more strongly from the right, producing a pattern in which the positive relationship between authoritarianism and preference for the Republican Party over independence is stronger among the educated but the negative relationship between authoritarianism and preference for the Democratic Party over independence is not stronger among the educated. Data from the 2004 and 2008 American National Election Studies indicate clear support for both hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-603
Number of pages23
JournalPolitical Behavior
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Authoritarianism
  • Education
  • Partisanship
  • Sophistication

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