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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

We now have a large and sprawling body of research on the effects of party cues. It is not very consistent or cumulative. Findings vary widely from one article to the next, and they sometimes contradict each other. This article sifts the evidence for five potential moderators of party-cue effects that have received much attention: political sophistication, need for cognition, issue salience, the amount of information in the information environment, and the distinctiveness of party reputations. It also considers the evidence on three large questions: whether party cues dominate policy information in people’s judgments, whether they are “shortcuts,” and how they affect our inferences about policies. The article closes by suggesting that limitations of research in this area are due partly to weak links between theory and empirical efforts and partly to problems of measurement error and statistical power.

Keywords: party cues, partisanship, political sophistication, motivated reasoning, dual-process models, party reputations, need for cognition, issue salience, information environment, information shortcuts

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